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"A highly cogent presentation of what is going to be the benchmark case against 
immigration. . . . Too persuasively made to be ignored." — Richard Bernstein. New York Times 


VV I I 1 1 A NIW \ I I I R YV O R I) m MIL A LI 1 HO R 




Acclaim for Peter Brimelow's 
Alien Nation 

"Brimelow provides us with much common sense on declaring our 
independence from the mounting migration pressures coming to 
bear on our nation. Brimelow's message is as badly needed today as 
Thomas Paine's was in 1 776." 

— Senator Eugene McCarthy 

"Those who think the system needs no fixing cannot responsibly 
hold to that position unless they take Mr. Brimelow's urgent appeal 
to change into account." 

— Richard Bernstein, New York Times 

"If his book is at times uncomfortably personal, it is also painfully 
honest. Sometimes it takes a personal book to make a public debate 
finally and fully public. This could, just possibly, be one of those 

— Jack Miles, Los Angeles Times, 

in Atlantic Monthly 

"Don't be misled by the verbal pyrotechnics: Brimelow presents his 
case with a prosecutor's thoroughness. ... No reformer can avoid 
grappling with the formidable work of Peter Brimelow." 

— David Frum, author of Dead Right, 

Financial Post (Toronto) 

"Does an admirable job of explaining the unintended consequences 
of the Immigration Act of 1965 . . . also correct in raising the most 
important issue of all: why, exactly, should large-scale immigration 

— Tom Morganthau, Newsweek 

"Destined to become the handbook for the national debate on im- 

— Jeffrey Hart, King Features Syndicate 

"Witty and conversational, full of clever asides." 

— Philip Kasinitz, New York Newsday 

"The most comprehensive and the most readable contribution to 
the anti-immigration side now available ... an important contribu- 
tion to American political thought." 

— Sam Francis, syndicated columnist, 

National Review 

"Engagingly written and informative. ... It is a pleasure to read 
Peter Brimelow at length. He writes with wit, honesty, and good 

— Glenn C. Loury, Boston University, 

in National Review 

"Outstanding, sharp and amusing . . . full of wry asides and occa- 
sionally pungent epigrams." 

— Scott McConnell, New York Post 

"Brilliant and extremely important. . . . Thank God Brimelow mi- 
grated here." 

— Taki, New York Post 

"The shock book about immigration . . . has turned all the old shib- 
boleths inside out A myth-exploder, combatively written." 

— Georgia Anne Geyer, 

syndicated columnist 

"A gem of a popular book that provides a non-academic, easily- 
digestible source of information which ought to make unthinking 
acceptance of mass immigration impossible for anyone who reads 

— Mark Krikorian, 

Center for Immigration Studies 

"As Dr. Johnson said, It was a brave man who first ate an oyster,' 
and Peter Brimelow deserves acknowledgement for somewhat the 

sarnie sort of courage in opening up the immigration problem. . . . 

The bigots who hate the American system will be very disappointed 

to see the truth get out." 

— James P. Lucier, 

in the Richmond Times-Dispatch 

"Put off, for a while, reading another Stephen King novel and give 
Peter Brimelow a try instead. If you're looking for a good fright, 
Brimelow provides it . . . a non-fiction horror story of a nation that 

is wilfully but blindly pursuing a course of national suicide A 

pretty persuasive case . . . timely reading." 
— Jesse E. Todd Jr., 
Daily Press (Newport News, VA) 

"Brimelow has an impressive command of the relevant facts, and 
writes in the accessible and aggressive manner of a debater out to 
score points. And score he does. This is a very important book: any- 
body who wants to get in on the immigration debate has to read it." 
— Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, First Things 

"Has the quality of an embarrassing dinner-party guest — boorish, 
noisy and loquacious but also, maddeningly, often right." 
— The Economist (London) 

"A brave, searching, provocative treatment of an oncoming crisis. 
. . . If you care about America's future, read this book." 
— John Attarian, St. Croix Review 

"Peter Brimelow's skill in exposition conceals the magnitude of his 
achievement. Behind the smooth and easy flow of his prose lies a 
penetrating grasp of the literature of history, economics, demogra- 
phy and political theory relevant to his inquiry. Brimelow's analy- 
sis, and the distinctive nationalist point of view it expresses, 
contribute in a bold and original way to the debate on immigration. 
Those who wish to argue with him must contend with a born 
polemicist, who has been careful to anticipate counterarguments." 
— David Gordon, The Mises Review 

"Discusses one of those burning issues that certainly is not dis- 
cussed intelligently in Academe I know Brimelow has given me 

reason to think this matter through at greater length." 

— R. Emmett Tyrrell, American Spectator 

"Speaking of 'Bravehearts,' welcome Peter Brimelow to that distin- 
guished fellowship. ... He makes his case gently, with a cheerful 
buoyancy. Yet ... he has found himself battered and beset." 

— William Murchison, Dallas Morning News 

"Advances the debate by masterfully pointing out some major 
flaws in the nation's immigration policy. ... A valuable contribu- 

— Frederick Robinson, 

National Minority Politics magazine 

"What we need is a real debate about immigration Peter Brime- 

low's Alien Nation makes him top choice for the contrary position." 
— Thomas Sowell, Hoover Institution 

Alien Nation 

Also by Peter Brimelow 

The Wall Street Gurus: 

How You Can Profit from Investment Newsletters 

The Patriot Game: 

Canada and the Canadian Question Revisited 

Alien Nation 

Common Sense About 
America's Immigration 

Peter Brimelow 

! HarperPerennial 


For Alexander James Frank Brimelow 
born New York Hospital, August 30, 1991 

"This fair child of mine 
Shall sum my count. . . " 
—Shakespeare, Sonnet II 


List of Charts and Maps xi 

Helpful Note from Author xiii 

Preface: Common Sense About Immigration xvii 

1. Introduction: How I Came to Write This Book 3 


2. The View from the Tenth Circle 25 

3. The Pincers 58 

4. How Did It Happen? 74 

5. Why Did It Happen? 92 

6. So What? 115 



7. Immigration Has Consequences: Economics 137 

8. Immigration Has (More) Consequences: Economics II 156 

9. Immigration Has Consequences: Cultural, Social, 
Environmental ... 178 

10. Immigration Has Consequences: Political Power 191 

11. Immigration Has Consequences: A Less Perfect Union 202 

12. Immigration Has Consequences: The War Against the 
Nation-State 222 

13. Doing The Right Thing? The Morality of Immigration 234 


14. What, Then, Is to Be Done? 257 

15. Conclusion: The Bowels of Christ? 269 

Afterword to the Paperback Edition 277 

Acknowledgments 301 

Appendices 305 

Notes 319 

Index 331 

List of Charts and Maps 


1. The American Tradition: Not Immigration — Intermittent 
Immigration 30-31 

2. Underlying Immigration: Trend Still Up 32 

3. Recurrent Immigration: The Crisis Returns 34 

4. Immigration Compared to U.S. Population: A Statistical 
Mirage? 40-41 

5. Net Immigration to the U.S.: New Pattern, New Highs 42 

6. Outside The Envelope: Immigration's Contribution to U.S. 
Population Growth 43 

7. The Foreign Presence: Starting Back Up 44 

8. "The Wedge" 47 

9. The Third World Overhang 5 1 

10. The Developed World: Populations Stabilizing — Except for 
U.S. (and Canada) 54 


11. Skewing The Surge: Legal Immigration to U.S. by Region of 
Birth: 1821-1990 60 

12. "The Pincers" 63 
Map 1 "Alien Nation" 70-71 

13. Immigrant Skills: Losing Ground 142 

14. Immigrants and Welfare: Sinking Deeper 147 

15. Immigration and Economic Growth: It Ain't 

Necessarily So 170 

Helpful Note from Author 


here are lies, damned lies, and statistics. And, in the case of 
American immigration history, there are also myths. All 
very confusing. Herewith, a brief blazed trail: 

1607 First permanent English settlement at Jamestown, Vir- 

1620 Puritan settlement at Plymouth, Massachusetts. 

(The "Open Door Era' — Immigration actually regu- 
lated by colonies, later states, until 1875, with object of 
keeping out criminals, paupers and occasionally other 
groups considered undesirable, such as Irish servants.) 

1776 Declaration of Independence. 

(After Revolutionary War, immigration remains low 
until the late 1830s— the "First Great Lull. ") 


1790 First federal naturalization law requires that appli- 

cants be "free white persons, " 

1808 Importation of slaves halted 

1840s Irish immigration, especially after potato crop fails in 

late 1840s, begins "Era of Mass Immigration, " lasting 
until 1921 cutoff. Initially from northern and western 

1868 Blacks finally guaranteed U. S. citizenship under Four- 

teenth Amendment. 

1875 U.S. Supreme Court rules immigration federal, not 

state, responsibility. 

1882-1917 Chinese, Japanese and other Asian immigration effec- 
tively stopped as it materializes; Asians substantially 
barred from U.S. citizenship. 

1890-1920 "New Immigration** from southern, eastern Europe, 
builds up to "First Great Wave, "peaking at 1.3 million 
in 1907. 

1921-24 The "Great Restriction"— Quota Act of 1921, Immi- 
gration Act of 1924, sharply reduce immigration and, 
through a system of national-origins quotas, cause it to 
reflect the ethnic heritage of the existing American 
community, predominantly northern and western 

(The Great Restriction, combined with the Depression 
and World War II, results in forty years of very low 
immigration — the "Second Great Lull") 

1940s Last restrictions on Asians acquiring U.S. citizenship 

dropped; limited immigration from Asia begins. 

1952 The Immigration and Nationality Act— previous legis- 

lation consolidated, national-origins quota system ex- 

1954 Rising illegal immigration effectively stopped by "Op- 

eration Wetback." 

1965 The Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments — 

immigration increased; national-origins principle abol- 
ished; "family reunification" emphasized above skills 
needed by American economy. Not a move back 


toward free immigration — instead a complex, inflexi- 
ble and perversely discriminatory system. 
(1965 legislation inadvertently triggers renewed mass 
immigration, but heavily skewed toward a few Third 
World countries, thus shifting U.S. ethnic balance. Not 
an Open Door — rather, because of this skew, the "Era 
of Open Scuttles.") 

1970s Illegal immigration rising. 

1980 Refugee Act. First explicit recognition of refugees as a 
permanent, distinct immigrant stream. 

1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. Amnesty for 
many illegal immigrants. 

1990 Immigration Act. Further increases legal immigration, 
institutes small immigration lottery for countries 
squeezed out by workings of 1965 system. 

1990s (Immigration policy brings about "Second Great 
Wave* — a record 1.8 million admitted in 1991; illegal 
immigration also running at 300,000 to 500,000 net 
each year.) 

Preface: Common Sense 
About Immigration 

Sam Donaldson, ABC News: [Native-born Americans] don't have 
any more right to this country, in my view, than people who came 
here yesterday. 

Cokie Roberts, National Public Radio: That's right. 

This Week with David Brmkley, July 25, 1993 

There is a sense in which current immigration policy is Adolf 
Hitler's posthumous revenge on America. The U.S. political 
elite emerged from the war passionately concerned to 
cleanse itself from all taints of racism or xenophobia. Eventually, it 
enacted the epochal Immigration Act (technically, the Immigration 
and Nationality Act Amendments) of 1965. And this, quite acci- 
dentally, triggered a renewed mass immigration, so huge and so sys- 
tematically different from anything that had gone before as to 
transform — and ultimately, perhaps, even to destroy — the one un- 
questioned victor of World War II: the American nation, as it had 
evolved by the middle of the twentieth century. 

Today, U.S. government policy is literally dissolving the 
people and electing a new one, in the words of the Bertolt Brecht 
poem that heads Chapter 3, where the process is described in detail. 


You can be for this or you can be against it. But the fact is undeni- 

"Still," Time magazine wrote in its Fall 1993 "Special Issue on 
Multiculturalism," "for the first time in its history, the U.S. has an 
immigration policy that, for better or worse, is truly democratic." 1 

As an immigrant, albeit one who came here rather earlier than 
yesterday and is now an American citizen, I find myself asking with 
fascination: what can this possibly mean? American immigration 
policy has always been democratic, of course, in the sense that it has 
been made through democratic procedures. Right now, as a matter 
of fact, it's unusually undemocratic, in the sense that Americans 
have told pollsters long and loudly that they don't want any more 
immigration; but the politicians ignore them. 

I suspect that Time magazine, like Sam Donaldson and Cokie 
Roberts in their conversation on ABC's This Week with David 
Brinkley that heads this chapter, must feel vaguely that "democ- 
racy" has something to do with everyone in the world being treated 
equally. (Which is not how current U.S. immigration policy actu- 
ally treats them, but that's a detail.) Their notion of democracy, in 
other words, has degenerated to the point where it is assumed to 
require invalidating the right to an independent existence of the 
very demos, people, community, that is supposed to be taking deci- 
sions on its own behalf. Democracy becomes self-liquidating, like 
the famous bird allegedly discovered by World War II aviators that 
flew around in ever-decreasing circles until it finally, remarkably, 

Personally, I doubt it will prove possible to run the United States, 
or any other society, on this principle. 

"Immigrants built America!" Americans are incessantly told. 
Again, as an immigrant, I don't agree. In this book, I discuss the 
surprising evidence that immigration is, and probably always has 
been, much less important to American economic growth than is 
conventionally assumed. America took off, economically and in- 
deed morally, in the Colonial Era. That momentum continues, al- 
beit now increasingly obscured. 

But note that I am not saying that immigration, particularly se- 
lected immigration, is always without value— just that it is at most a 
luxury, rather than a necessity. For example, I am arguably displac- 


ing an American-born worker as a senior editor at Forbes maga- 
zine. I naturally like to think that my employers would miss my 
unique contribution. However, I am fairly sure that they would sur- 

As a financial journalist, I am professionally inclined to find the 
economic argument about immigration compelling. But I know 
from experience that it is not. People habitually justify their immi- 
gration preferences in economic terms, but really they are moti- 
vated by a wide range of ethnic, moral and even psychological 
agendas. These agendas are not necessarily illegitimate (although I 
suspect most Americans would find some of them rather startling if 
they realized what they were). The point, however, is that they 
should be discussed. 

"Immigrants do the dirty jobs no one else will touch, " Americans 
are told, equally incessantly. I don't agree with this economic analy- 
sis either. But in this book, I act as if it were true. In discussing the 
many aspects of immigration policy, I inevitably touch on some is- 
sues of race and ethnicity that in American debate nowadays are 
usually taboo. 

Taboos, however, are not just a matter of cowardice and men- 
dacity. They also reflect a sincere human reluctance to give offense 
(which is why they tend to become rampant in diverse societies). 
Although it may sometimes appear otherwise, I am not abnormally 
anxious to give offense. I'm sorry that some readers may find parts 
of this book distressing, particularly when they are civilians, guilt- 
less of the practice of journalism or politics. 

The job, however, must be done. Race and ethnicity are destiny 
in American politics. The racial and ethnic balance of America is 
being radically altered through public policy. This can only have 
the most profound effects. Is it what Americans want? 

And the taboo that prevents this simple reality from being de- 
bated also prevents discussion of the most obvious irrationalities in 
current immigration policy — such as its perverse de facto discrimi- 
nation against skilled immigrants; and against those countries that, 
by accident, were not first through the door after 1965. 

There is a fundamental distinction to be made between immigra- 
tion in principle and immigration in practice. Obeisance to the for- 
mer is preventing observation of the latter. Readers may well 


disagree with much in this book. But I believe that they will also be 
left disagreeing with at least some of the workings of the post- 1965 
immigration system. The point is this: 

• America's immigration system is broke and needs fixing. The only 
issue is: how much? 

And what do Americans want? I don't believe, after long and 
careful inspection, that they want anything very terrible for their 
fellow human beings. They seem to me as if they would accept any 
immigrant, of any complexion including plaid, given minimum 
goodwill and good intentions. (Which, however, I also suspect are 
now often lacking.) But there are limits. Enough, as Americans in- 
variably say in private conversation, is enough. 

This is not an unreasonable position. Unfortunately, and greatly 
to the discredit of the American political elite, there is no longer a 
respectable language in which to express it. I like to think of this 
book as a sort of toolkit of arguments for ordinary Americans. 
Some immigration enthusiasts will resent having their tranquillity 
disturbed. But their choice is to hear arguments for reform now, or 
for total restriction later. 

Some readers of this book when it was still in manuscript have 
told me that my view of human nature is pessimistic. I am reluctant 
to accept this. I argue that the force that makes human differences 
an unavoidable, albeit not unmanageable, social reality is also pre- 
cisely the force that makes individuals sacrifice their lives for their 
children. Whether this is nasty or profoundly noble is a matter of 
taste. Probably it is both. Either way, it exists. 

I have also been told that I do not give sufficient credit to the 
idealistic, radical, even millenarian strain in the American political 
tradition. And this may well be true. My reading of the Founding 
Fathers, and their practical political tradition, is that they were in 
the main conservative realists. American political rhetoric, by con- 
trast, certainly is often millenarian, right back to Common Sense, 
my fellow English immigrant Tom Paine's famous rationalization 
of the American Revolution. But that's not the same thing. (And it 
may be a warning against wordsmiths and rhetoricians like Paine 
misreading the American tradition — although, as we shall see, he 


was more realistic about immigration than is generally recognized.) 

Nevertheless, when you debate immigration with its American 
enthusiasts, you reach the pained assertion "But America's differ- 
ent!" in just two or three exchanges. This is an alarming indication 
of how influential we wordsmiths and rhetoricians can be, even 
when wrong — and also of how desperately thin the substantive ar- 
guments for this immense historic gamble turn out to be, when 
given even the most casual prod. 

You can hardly argue with this sort of faith. But you can doubt 
it. A generation ago, anti-Vietnam War demonstrators wittily re- 
torted to the prospect of the military draft: "Not with my life you 
don't!" Now, we might reasonably say to advocates of this new ad- 
venture: "Not with my child's future you don't!" 

I mean this quite literally. There is confusion nowadays about 
what it means to be a "nation," and a "nation-state." (I attempt to 
dispel it in Chapters 1 1 and 12.) But, essentially, a nation is a sort of 
extended family. It links individual and group, parent and child, 
past and future, in ways that reach beyond the rational to the most 
profound and elemental in the human experience. 

The mass immigration so thoughtlessly triggered in 1965 risks 
making America an alien nation — not merely in the sense that the 
numbers of aliens in the nation are rising to levels last seen in the 
nineteenth century; not merely in the sense that America will 
become a freak among the world's nations because of the unprece- 
dented demographic mutation it is inflicting on itself; not merely in 
the sense that Americans themselves will become alien to each 
other, requiring an increasingly strained government to arbitrate 
between them; but, ultimately, in the sense that Americans will no 
longer share in common what Abraham Lincoln called in his First 
Inaugural Address "the mystic chords of memory, stretching from 
every battlefield and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearth 
stone, all over this broad land ..." 

And that when the time comes to strike those chords, no sweet 
sound will result. 

Alien Nation 



Essay Question 2 

Global interdependence will be the norm by the year 2000. In this 
country English will be just one of the many languages commonly 
spoken and more than half the population will be people of color. 
Comment on the environment in which you grew up; has it prepared 
you for these changes? What knowledge and skills do you need for 
the twenty-first century? 

Admissions Essay, Tufts University, 1993 

From time to time while struggling with this book, and ear- 
lier, while writing the humongous "Time to Rethink Immi- 
gration?" National Review cover story that preceded it, 1 I've 
broken off to experience once again — it will be for such a short, 
short time — the inexpressible joy of changing my infant American 
son's dirty diaper. 

Alexander James Frank Brimelow is an American although 
I was still a British subject, and his mother a Canadian, when he 
shot into the New York Hospital delivery room, yelling indig- 
nantly, one summer dawn in 1991. This is because of the Four- 
teenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It states in part: 

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to 
the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the 
State wherein they reside. 


The Fourteenth Amendment was passed after the Civil War in an 
attempt to stop Southern states denying their newly freed slaves the 
full rights of citizens. But the wording is general. So it has been in- 
terpreted to mean that any child born in the United States is auto- 
matically a citizen. Even if its mother is a foreigner. Even if she's 
just passing through. 

This "birthright citizenship" is by no means the rule among 
industrialized countries. Even if you are born in a manger, the 
Japanese, French and Germans say in effect, that still doesn't 
make you a bale of hay. The British used to have birthright citizen- 
ship, but in 1983 they restricted it — requiring for example that one 
parent be a legal resident — because of problems caused by immi- 

I am delighted that Alexander is an American. However, I do feel 
slightly, well, guilty that his fellow Americans had so little choice in 
the matter. 

But at least Maggy and I had applied for and been granted legal 
permission to live in the United States. There are currently an es- 
timated 3.5 to 4 million foreigners who have just arrived and settled 
here in defiance of American law. 2 When these illegal immigrants 
have children in the United States, why, those children are auto- 
matically American citizens too. 

And right now, two thirds of the births in Los Angeles County 
hospitals are to illegal-immigrant mothers. 3 

In fact, a whole minor industry seems to have been created by 
those twenty-eight words added to the U.S. Constitution. One sur- 
vey of new Hispanic mothers in California border hospitals found 
that 15 percent had crossed the border specifically to give birth, of 
whom a quarter said that their motive was to ensure U.S. citizen- 
ship for their child. 4 

All of which is just another example of one of this book's central 

• The United States has lost control of its borders — in every sense. A 

series of institutional accidents, of which birthright citizenship is 
just one, has essentially robbed Americans of the power to deter- 


mine who, and how many, can enter their national family, make 
claims on it . . . and exert power over it. 

The heart of the problem: immigration. 


In 1991, the year of Alexander's birth, the Immigration and Natu- 
ralization Service reported a total of over 1.8 million legal immi- 
grants. That was easily a record. It exceeded by almost a third the 
previous peak of almost 1.3 million, reached eighty-four years ear- 
lier at the height of the First Great Wave of Immigration, which 
peaked just after the turn of the century. 

The United States has been engulfed by what seems likely to be the 
greatest wave of immigration it has ever faced. The INS estimates that 
12 to 13 million legal and illegal immigrants will enter the United 
States during the decade of the 1990s. The Washington, D.C.-based 
Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), among the 
most prominent of the groups critical of immigration policy, thinks 
the total will range between 10 and 15 million. An independent ex- 
pert, Daniel James, author of Illegal Immigration — An Unfolding 
Crisis, has argued that it could be as high as 1 8 million. 5 

And the chaotic working of current U.S. immigration law has 
created a peculiar, but little-understood, reality. The extraordinary 
truth is that, in almost all cases, Americans will have little more say 
over the arrival of these new claimants on their national community — 
and voters on their national future — than over the arrival of Alex- 

This is because it's not just illegal immigration that is out of con- 
trol. So is legal immigration. U.S. law in effect treats immigration as 
a sort of imitation civil right, extended to an indefinite group of for- 
eigners who have been selected arbitrarily and with no regard to 
American interests. 

Whether these foreigners deign to come and make their claim on 
America — and on the American taxpayer — is pretty much up to 



Everyone knows that there are two sides to every question, except 
the typical American editor ordering up a story about immigration, 
for whom there is only one side: immigration good, concern about 
immigration bad. 

This results in the anecdotal happy-talk good-news coverage of 
immigration that we all know and love: 

XYZ was just Harvard's valedictorian — XYZ arrived in the U.S. 
speaking no English three months ago— XYZ PRO VES THE AMER- 
ICAN DREAM IS STILL ALIVE!— despite those nasty nativists who 
want to keep all the XYZs out. 

Now, the achievement of immigrants to the United States (more 
accurately, of some immigrants to the United States) is indeed one 
of the most inspiring, and instructive, tales in human history. Nev- 
ertheless, there are still two sides to the question. Thus we might, 
equally reasonably, expect to see balancing anecdotal coverage like 

In January 1993, a Pakistani applicant for political asylum (and, 
simultaneously, for amnesty as an illegal immigrant) opens fire on em- 
ployees entering CIA headquarters, killing two and wounding three! In 
February 1993, a gang of Middle Easterners (most illegally overstay- 
ing after entering on non-immigrant visas — one banned as a terrorist 
but admitted on a tourist visa in error) blow up New York's World 
Trade Center, killing six and injuring more than 1,000!! In December 
1993, a Jamaican immigrant (admitted as a student but stayed, illegal 
status automatically regularized after marriage to a U.S. citizen) 
opens fire on commuters on New York's Long Island Rail Road, killing 
six and wounding 19!!! WHA T'S GOING ON??!!? 

The case of Colin Ferguson, arrested in the Long Island Rail 
Road shootings, is particularly instructive. With a little help from 
President Clinton, talking the very next day at a lunch for journal- 
ists, it was rapidly converted into another argument for gun con- 


Which missed the point completely. You can be for or against 
gun control. Arguably, the proposed federal legislation would not 
have helped here because Ferguson bought his gun legally, in Cali- 
fornia, which already requires proof of identity and a fifteen-day 
waiting period. 

But Ferguson's own writings showed him to be motivated by ha- 
tred of whites. And this racial antagonism is a much deeper prob- 
lem. In any rational mind, it must raise the question: Is it really wise 
to allow the immigration of people who find it so difficult and painful 
to assimilate into the American majority? 

Because the fact cannot be denied: if Ferguson and the others had 
not immigrated, those fourteen Americans would not have been 

Although we might reasonably expect to see such balancing 
media coverage of immigration, don't hold your breath. There are 
powerful taboos preventing it. I discuss them in Chapter 6, on page 
115. The result, however, is that the American immigration debate 
has been a one-way street. Criticism of immigration, and news that 
might support it, just tends not to get through. 

This is no mere journalism-school game of balancing anecdotes. 
It involves the broadest social trends. For example, the United 
States is in the midst of a serious crime epidemic. Yet almost no 
Americans are aware that aliens make up one quarter of the prisoners 
in federal penitentiaries — almost three times their proportion in the 
population at large. 6 

Indeed, many problems that currently preoccupy Americans 
have an unspoken immigration dimension. Two further instances: 

• The health-care crisis. Americans have been told repeatedly that 
some 30 to 40 million people in the country have no health insur- 
ance at any one point in time. Typically, nobody seems to know 
how many are immigrants. But immigrants certainly make up a 
disproportionate share — particularly of the real problem: the 
much smaller hard core, perhaps 6 million, that remains uninsured 
after two years. 

We know that about 6 million of the 22 million U.S. Hispanics 
are uninsured at any one point. Since almost a third of U.S. Hispan- 


ics are foreign-born, it's obvious that immigrants and their children 
must be some and perhaps most of them. The hard core of unin- 
sured, experts confirm, is substantially Hispanic. That probably in- 
cludes many of the estimated nearly 2 million uninsured illegal 
immigrants permanently settled here, a heavily Hispanic group. 7 

• The education crisis. Americans are used to hearing that their 
schools don't seem to be providing the quality of education that 
foreigners get. Fewer of them know that the U.S. education system 
is also very expensive by international standards. 8 Virtually none 
of them know anything about the impact of immigration on that 
education system. 

Yet the impact of immigration is clearly serious. For example, in 
1990 almost one child in every twenty enrolled in American public 
schools either could not speak English or spoke it so poorly as to 
need language-assistance programs. This number is increasing with 
striking speed: only six years earlier, it had been one child in thirty- 
one. 9 Current law is generally interpreted as requiring schools to ed- 
ucate such children in their native language. To do sb, according to 
one California estimate, requires spending some 65 percent more 
per child than on an English-speaking child. 10 And not merely 
money but, more importantly, teacher time and energy are inevita- 
bly being diverted from America's children. 

(And it's not working anyway. The Bureau of the Census recently 
reported for the first time, because the phenomenon was previously 
unheard of, that 2.3 percent of native-born Americans now do not 
speak English "very well" and that 1.2 percent are "linguistically 
isolated" — living in households where no one aged fourteen or over 
speaks only English or speaks English "very well." Astonishingly, 
nearly a third of the immigrants who entered the country between 
1980 and 1990 and had become U.S. citizens were "linguistically iso- 
lated"— although until 1990, English proficiency was usually a con- 
dition of naturalization. 11 ) 

Immigration enthusiasts — a distinct American subspecies — like 
to say: "We need immigrants to do the dirty work that Americans 
won't do. " I refute this argument in Chapters 7 and 8. But, as I have 
said, as an immigrant the dirty work I perform in this book is that 


which too many American pundits and politicians have declined to 
do. This involves not just forcing facts through against the traffic on 
that one-way street, but also getting the traffic moving in some 
spots where it has stopped completely to rubberneck at the wrong 

In this book, I show that the immigration resulting from current 
public policy 

1. is dramatically larger, less skilled and more divergent from the Amer- 
ican majority than anything that was anticipated or desired 

2. is probably not beneficial economically — and is certainly not neces- 

3. is attended by a wide and increasing range of negative consequences, 
from the physical environment to the political 

4. is bringing about an ethnic and racial transformation in America 
without precedent in the history of the world — an astonishing social 
experiment launched with no particular reason to expect success 

Contrary to the menacing assertion of the Tufts University admis- 
sions bureaucrats quoted at the head of this chapter, "people of 
color" will not be anything like half the American population in the 
year 2000. They will most likely be little more than a quarter. But 
the Tufts bureaucrats will get their wish, within the lifetime of my 
little son — if, and only if, current immigration policy continues. 


Some of my American readers will be stirring uneasily at this point. 
They have been trained to recoil from any explicit discussion of 
race. And anyone who says anything critical of immigration is going 
to be accused of racism. This is simply a law of modern American 
political life. 

When you write a major article in a national magazine, you in 
effect enter into a conversation with Americans. And part of the 
conversation I got into by writing my National Review cover story 
illustrated this law. It was a muttering match with Virginia Postrel, 
editor of the libertarian Reason magazine. 


Virginia flipped out at the word experiment, as used in point 4 
above, and launched into a rendition of the pro-immigration moldy 
oldie "America Is an Experiment That Works." (This often hap- 
pens.) I pointed out gently that the experiment in question was not 
America — but instead the 1965 Immigration Act and its imminent, 
unprecedented, ethnic and racial transformation of America. She 
replied angrily in print: 

... he [me!] thus defines authentic Americans not by their values or 
actions but by their blood. This is nonsense and, though I hate to use 
the term, profoundly un-American. 12 

Thus Virginia, like many modern American intellectuals, is just 
unable to handle a plain historical fact: that the American nation 
has always had a specific ethnic core. And that core has been white. 

A nation, of course, is an interlacing of ethnicity and culture. In- 
dividuals of any ethnicity or race might be able to acculturate to a 
national community. And the American national community has 
certainly been unusually assimilative. But nevertheless, the massive 
ethnic and racial transformation that public policy is now inflicting 
on America is totally new — and in terms of how Americans have 
traditionally viewed themselves, quite revolutionary. Pointing out 
this reality may be embarrassing to starry-eyed immigration enthu- 
siasts who know no history. But it cannot reasonably be shouted 
down as "racist." Or "un-American." 

(I choose Virginia, of all the people who complained about my 
article, to show the fratricidal/sororicidal character of the emerging 
immigration debate. I regard her as a friend, and share her fascina- 
tion with free markets — a professional hazard for me as a financial 
journalist, like overdeveloped biceps for an arm wrestler. This puts 
us together in a small, embattled minority. Another case is Robert 
L. Bartley, editor of The Wall Street Journal. He opened his attack 
in the National Review symposium on my cover story by noting 
acidly that he had personally helped me immigrate to the United 
States. 13 Quite right too, Bob — thanks again! But doesn't it show 
immigration can have unforeseen consequences?) 

Because the term "racist" is now so debased, I usually shrug such 
smears off by pointing to its new definition: anyone who is winning 


an argument with a liberal. Or, too often, a libertarian. And, on the 
immigration issue, even some confused conservatives. 

This may sound facetious. But the double standards are irritat- 
ing. Anyone who has got into an immigration debate with, for ex- 
ample, Hispanic activists must be instantly aware that some of them 
really are consumed by the most intense racial animosity — directed 
against whites. How come what's sauce for the goose is not sauce 
for the gansol 

Still, for the record, I will give a more formal answer. 

First, it is universally agreed that whatever impact immigration 
has must fall first on unskilled workers. And in the United States, 
that means blacks. Nor is this the first time that immigration has 
adversely affected these poorest of Americans. (For more on this, 
see Chapter 8, pages 173-75.) 

"Immigrants are revitalizing American cities/' say the immigra- 
tion enthusiasts — genuinely unaware, it seems, that they are in ef- 
fect expressing coded horror at the earlier effects of the great black 
migration from the rural South to the industrial urban North. Per- 
haps it is immigration enthusiasts, not immigration critics, who 
should be examining their motives. 

Second, I have indeed duly examined my own motives. And I am 
happy to report that they are pure. I sincerely believe I am not prej- 
udiced — in the sense of committing and stubbornly persisting in 
error about people, regardless of evidence — which appears to me to 
be the only rational definition of "racism." I am also, however, not 

Race and ethnicity are destiny in American politics. And, because 
of the rise of affirmative-action quotas, for American individ- 
uals too. 

My son, Alexander, is a white male with blue eyes and blond hair. 
He has never discriminated against anyone in his little life (except 
possibly young women visitors whom he suspects of being baby- 
sitters). But public policy now discriminates against him. The sheer 
size of the so-called "protected classes" that are now politically fa- 
vored, such as Hispanics, will be a matter of vital importance as 
long as he lives. And their size is basically determined by immigra- 


. . . NATTVXSTS . . . 

"Nativist!" This magic word is another exorcist's spell always cast 
against anyone who dares question current immigration policy. 
Clearly, in the minds of many immigration enthusiasts, nativists are 
no different than the Black Hundreds — the anti-Semitic gangs im- 
plicated in the pogroms that accelerated immigration from Czarist 
Russia at the turn of the century. 

Well, to adapt the song "The Farmer and the Cowman" from the 
musical Oklahoma!: 

Fd like to say a word for the nativists. 

In very significant ways, this common view of them is a myth. 

The nativists were genuine American originals: members of the 
Order of the Star-Spangled Banner, a secret patriotic society about 
which its members were instructed to deny knowledge — supposedly 
the origin of their famous nickname, the Know Nothings. Organiz- 
ing themselves as the American party in the mid-1850s, they scored 
stunning but short-lived successes on the eve of the Civil War. 

But the Know Nothings were far from an ignorant mob, as immi- 
gration enthusiasts, probably misunderstanding that nickname, 
tend to assume. Recent research has shown that they were a cross 
section of solid middle- and upper-middle-class citizens. And the 
Know Nothings never actually proposed restricting immigration — 
just that, in the words of the Know Nothing governor of Massa- 
chusetts, Henry J. Gardner, Americans should take care to "nation- 
alize before we naturalize" any new immigrants. Nor were the 
Know Nothings anti-Semitic. 

The Know Nothings were, however, deeply suspicious of Roman 
Catholicism — at a time when enormous Irish Catholic immigration 
had begun, after the potato famine of 1 845. 

Anti-Catholicism is not a sentiment you often find in America 
today (although you can get a whiff of it talking to abortion-rights 
and gay-rights activists). And it needs to be set in the context of the 
time. No doubt bigotry played a part. But so did a quite rational 
concern that Roman Catholicism with its hierarchical structure, 


unlike Judaism with its self-governing congregations, was not a "re- 
publican" religion — one that would be compatible with democracy, 
free institutions, law, liberty. 

After all, Pope Pius IX was now fervently denouncing "liberal- 
ism," by which he meant all free thought and free institutions, and 
supporting the despotisms that had crushed liberal revolutions all 
across Europe in 1848. Indeed, in 1853, enraged native-born Ameri- 
cans and immigrant "Exiles of '48" united to riot against the visit of 
papal nuncio Gaetano Bedini, called "the Butcher of Bologna" be- 
cause of his role in suppressing the revolt against papal rule there. 

Above all, the Know Nothings were against slavery. This stance 
was critical to their party's rise, when it provided a home for aboli- 
tionists disgusted with professional politicians' attempts to fudge 
the issue. And to its fall — forced to choose between abolition and 
nativism, the Know Nothings chose abolition. Most became 
Republicans. Several became famous in the Union army . . . notably 
its victorious general in chief, Ulysses S. Grant. 14 

The nativists were not Nazis: they were nationalists — culturally 
and politically. They saw their American national identity as inex- 
tricably involved with what President John F. Kennedy, assimilated 
descendant of that Irish influx, would later call "the survival and 
success of liberty." Their concerns about immigration and slavery 
were different sides of the same coin. They may well have been over- 
zealous. But their descendants need not feel ashamed of them. 

And, incidentally, the Know Nothings left one enduring legacy: 
America's system of secular public schools. It was created largely in 
response to their concern about "nationalizing" immigrants. 


In some ways, the immigration debate reminds me of the debate 
about investing in gold, which was raging when I first entered finan- 
cial journalism some twenty years ago. Everyone knew the pro-gold 
"gold bugs" were crazy. And they were crazy, some of them, or at 
least extremely odd. They wore funny suits and gave you business 
cards printed on gold stock. By contrast, the anti-gold people, who 
were respectfully unnicknamed, were the financial and academic 


elite. It was only after a while that you realized they were, however, 
just as fanatical. 

I've said that anyone saying anything critical of immigration is 
going to be accused of sin. And perhaps rightly, in some cases. But I 
also think that Americans favoring immigration have their own 
moral problem. They are too frequently guilty of what theologians 
call "enthusiasm" — the tendency to stress the emotional experience 
of an issue over its rational aspect. 

Immigration is indeed a very emotional issue for many Ameri- 
cans. Ellis Island is on the point of replacing the Winning of the 
West as the defining American experience. (Question: Why are 
there so many big-city cop shows and so few Westerns on television 

But immigration enthusiasts should remember: the gold bugs 
were right. The price of an ounce of gold went from $42 to over 
$800, one of the most remarkable market moves in history. 


With the opposition intimidated, immigration enthusiasts have 
been able to get away with treating American immigration history 
as a sort of Rorschach blot, into which they can read their personal 

My current favorite is a recent cover story in American Heritage 
magazine (published by my own employer, Forbes, Harrumph!). 
After subtly linking me and my National Review article with French 
crypto-fascists and German neo-Nazis, the writer went on to pro- 

what is at stake here is nothing less than the essential nature of the 
United States of America . . . only the United States takes special 
pride in describing American nationality as, by definition, indepen- 
dent of race and blood — as something that is acquired by residence 
and allegiance regardless of birthplace or ancestry. 15 

Of course this is absurd on its face: what about Australia and 
Canada today? But, as we shall see (see Chapters 3 and 1 1), it is also 


ludicrously false as a description o»f America's historic "essential 
nature." This was highly specific — racially, religiously, culturally — 
right up until modern times, reinforced when necessary by legisla- 
tion. For example, the first naturalization law, in 1790, stipulated 
that an applicant must be a "free white person." Blacks became full 
citizens only after the Civil War. Restrictions on Asians becoming 
citizens were finally dropped only after World War II. How much 
more specific can you get? 

Maybe America should not have been like this. But it was. 

Myth-manufacturing of this type amounts to an intellectual shell 
game — Americans (including, no doubt, many immigration enthu- 
siasts themselves) are being tricked out of their own identity. 

And it infests U.S. immigration history. Thus the lines now com- 
memorated on a (surprisingly inconspicuous) plaque beneath the 
base of tb •: Statue of Liberty 

. . . Give me your tired, your poor, 

your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, 

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore . . . 

are not part of the Declaration of Independence or some other pro- 
nouncement of the Founding Fathers. Instead, they are the reaction 
of a young Zionist, Emma Lazarus, to the Russian pogroms follow- 
ing the assassination of Czar Alexander II in 1 88 1 . They were added 
years after the dedication of the statue, which was a gift from 
France to commemorate the U.S. centennial, predated the Ellis Is- 
land era of mass immigration, and was originally supposed to sym- 
bolize not "the Mother of Immigrants," in Lazarus's phrase, but 
Liberty Enlightening the World — "liberty under law" adds Federa- 
tion for American Immigration Reform executive director Dan 
Stein, thinking grimly of recent amnesties for illegals. 

And they aren't even true. American immigration has typically 
been quite selective, if only because the cost of passage was (until 
recently) an effective filter. 16 Early English settlers included Royalist 
gentry who went to Virginia, like George Washington's ancestors, 
and Puritan gentry who went to New England, as Oliver Cromwell 
and his family once planned to do. 

And, whatever the Know Nothings may have thought, the Irish 


immigrants swarming in after the 1845 potato famine were not the 
bottom of the barrel. Three quarters of them were literate; their 
fares were commonly paid by established extended families. 17 

There are many other immigration myths. For example, immi- 
gration into the United States was never really completely free. 
There were always some restrictions. Immigration from Asia was 
cut off in the nineteenth century almost as soon as it began. And 
even European immigration was carefully monitored, for example 
to screen out potential paupers and threats to public health. Argua- 
bly, this scrutiny was actually stricter when immigration policy was 
the responsibility of the individual states, as it was until 1875. 18 

And— this myth is really unkillable, no doubt because it so use- 
fully frightens people from thinking about immigration policy — the 
use of intelligence testing played no real role in the restrictive legisla- 
tion passed in the 1920s. Nor did intelligence testers ever allege that 
Jews and other immigrants of that period were disproportionately 
"feeble-minded." The claim that they did so is mainly based on 
what appears to be almost a wilful misreading of the work of the 
psychometric pioneer H. H. Goddard, which persists although it 
was exposed well over a decade ago. 19 


The antidote to myth is common sense. This book takes its subtitle 
from Thomas Paine's famous pamphlet Common Sense, the pas- 
sionate argument for American independence from Britain that 
caused a sensation when it was published in early 1 776. 

There are some pleasing parallels here. Like me, Paine was an 
English immigrant — indeed, he had arrived in Philadelphia from 
England only just over a year before. But he still put on the Ameri- 
can cause like a glove. 

This is what it means to have a common political culture. In a 
real sense, the American Revolution was a civil war that split both 
peoples. Whole regiments of American Loyalists fought for the 
Crown; eight of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence were British-born. For Paine, the American Revolution was 
simply a transatlantic version of the radical cause in British politics. 


Ironically in the context of my book, Paine himself is regularly 
cited by immigration enthusiasts because of his rhetorical conclu- 
sion that America should become "an asylum for mankind." Which 
just shows what happens when people don't read original sources. 
Earlier in Common Sense, Paine had made it clear that he was talk- 
ing about asylum for Europeans ("we claim brotherhood with every 
European Christian"). And he explicitly grounded this claim on a 
common European culture distinct from that of the rest of the 
world. ("All Europeans meeting in America, or any other quarter 
of the globe, are countrymen ..." [Paine's emphasis]). 

Of course, I must modestly decline to make too much of the par- 
allels between Paine and myself. Apart from anything else, he died a 
rather sad death, although not in poverty as is sometimes alleged, 
thanks to the generosity of the New York State government. (An- 
other parallel I'm not holding my breath about.) And he was un- 
mistakably a man of the Left, something I would hardly presume to 

As a radical, Paine had a political agenda — the break with Brit- 
ain. And he read it into his account of the contemporary reality as 
gaily as any Tufts University Admissions bureaucrat. To minimize 
the link with Britain, he asserted that "Europe, and not England, is 
the parent country of America" and that "not one third of the in- 
habitants, even of this province, are of English descent." 20 

In fact, although Pennsylvania was perhaps the least English of 
the Thirteen Colonies, in 1790 white Americans as a whole were 60 
percent English, almost 80 percent British, 98 percent Protestant. 
(And, of course, some 20 percent of the population were voiceless 
black slaves. 21 ) 

Paine's move is a common one in the immigration shell game. 
Thus an exhibit at the Ellis Island Museum of Immigration has a 
notice reading: "by 1789, when george Washington was 


This assertion is a lie. It may be a "Noble Lie," the kind that the 
classical Greek philosopher Plato thought rulers should tell in order 
to keep their subjects happy. But it is still flagrantly false. 

America at the time of the Revolution was biracial, not multira- 
cial, containing both whites and blacks. But the political nation— 


the collectivity that took political decisions — was wholly white. 
And that white nation was multiethnic only in the sense that a stew 
can be described as half-rabbit, half-horse if it contains one rabbit 
and one horse. There were a few unusual fragments in the American 
stew of 1790. But, for better or worse, it tasted distinctly British. 


Many Americans have difficulty thinking about immigration re- 
striction because of a lurking fear: This would have kept my grandfa- 
ther out. In this book, I explore a rich variety of answers to this 

But it must also be stressed: that was then; this is now. There are 
important differences between the last Great Wave of Immigration 
and today's. 

1. Then, there was an "Open Door" (essentially — and with the major 
exception of the restriction on Asians). Now, the 1965 reform has re- 
opened the border in a perversely unequal way. Essentially, it has al- 
lowed immigrants from some countries to crowd out immigrants 
from others. 

The 1965 Immigration Act did not open the immigration flood- 
gates: it opened the immigration scuttles — the influx is very sub- 
stantial, but it spurts lopsidedly from a remarkably small number of 
countries, just as when some of the scuttles are opened in one side of 
a ship. Which is why the United States is now developing an ethnic 
list — and may eventually capsize. Your grandfather probably 
couldn't get in now anyway. 

And this brings us to another of this book's central themes: 

• The problem is not necessarily immigration in principle — it's immi- 
gration in practice. Specifically, it's the workings of the 1965 Immi- 
gration Act and its subsequent amendments. 

This cannot be stressed too much. 

It's significant of the one-way American immigration debate that 
I have never met an immigration enthusiast who will defend the ac- 


tual workings of the 1965 Act. When cornered. But they are not 
cornered very often. 

And there are other differences between the First Great Wave 
ending in the 1920s and the Second Great Wave of the 1990s. 

2. Then, immigrants came overwhelmingly from Europe, no matter 
how different they seemed at the time; now, immigrants are over- 
whelmingly visible minorities from the Third World. Not withstand- 
ing which — 

3. Then, there was an aggressive public and private "Americanization" 
campaign (celebrated in Leo Rosten's 1937 comic classic The Educa- 
tion ofH* Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N); now, there's "multicultural- 
ism" — i.e., immigrants are officially not expected to assimilate. 

4. Then, there was no welfare state and immigrants who failed often 
went home; now, there is a welfare state — and fewer immigrants 

5. Then, immigration was stopped. There was a pause for digestion— the 
Second Great Lull — that lasted some forty years. Now, there's no 
end in sight. 


"What's your astrological sign?" the famous gold bug and invest- 
ment-letter publisher Harry Schultz asked me in my early days as a 
financial journalist. (There's more interest in astrology on Wall 
Street than you might think — or fear.) 

Libra, I told him. 

"That's a problem for you," he said. "It means you see the other 
side too much — you have trouble making up your mind." 

Maybe it's true. At least, I've never been tempted to offer invest- 
ment advice. But the immigration debate is peculiarly Libra terri- 

Immigration is not a subject like abortion, where both sides have 
been deeply entrenched for years. Instead, it cuts right across nor- 
mal ideological lines, creating totally unexpected antagonisms and 
alliances. For example, I have found myself discussing my National 
Review cover story with a group of environmentalists . . . who voted 
for Patrick J. Buchanan in the 1992 presidential primaries because 


of their fear that immigration-driven population growth is ecologi- 
cally insupportable. Probably both Buchanan and the professional 
environmentalist lobby in Washington would be equally astounded 
by news of this emerging electoral bloc. 

At present, concern about immigration is regularly dismissed as 
racism. But historically, it has quite often been a progressive issue in 
America. Labor unions, fearing cheap labor, have been active re- 
strictionists. The American Federation of Labor's Samuel Gom- 
pers, himself an immigrant from England, was particularly critical 
of the 1890-1920 Great Wave. In a powerful 1992 article from the 
liberal perspective in Atlantic Monthly magazine, arguing that im- 
migration hurts blacks, the Los Angeles Times's Jack Miles wrote, 
"My strong suspicion is that if FAIR succeeds in launching this de- 
bate, it will begin on the right [here he cited my National Review 
story] but quickly be seized by the left . . ."** 

Chaos forces people to think anew. Writing about immigration 
forced me to rethink my own attitude toward environmentalism, 
which like other financial journalists I had tended to view as just 
another excuse for government regulation. 

And, at least from the evidence of my conversation with Ameri- 
cans after my National Review article, immigration is one of those 
rare issues about which people are willing to change their minds. "I 
began thinking, as opposed to emoting, on this highly emotional 
subject when I read [my National Review piece]," syndicated colum- 
nist Don Feder, author of A Jewish Conservative Looks at Pagan 
America, was kind enough to write. 23 

In a debate as important as any that has ever taken place in 
America, that's one hopeful sign. 


And why do I, an immigrant, care? For one reason, there is my 
American toddler, Alexander. He seems to like it here. A second 
reason: just as Thomas Jefferson said in the eighteenth century that 
every man has two countries, his own and France, so in this century 
no civilized person can be indifferent to the fate of America. 
Anyway, for better or worse, immigrants have always worried 


about immigration. At the 1787 Constitutional Convention, a for- 
mer regular British army officer, Pierce Butler, was prominent 
among those delegates wanting a fourteen-year residency require- 
ment for U.S. senators, although he himself had only arrived in 
1773. A century later, an Irish immigrant, Dennis Kearney, was a 
leader of the agitation that halted Chinese immigration into Cali- 
fornia. (His — probably mythical — slogan: "Americay for Ameri- 
cans, Begorrahl") The very term "melting pot" comes from a 1908 
play about Great Wave immigration by an English-born Zionist, 
Israel Zangwill. 

Beyond this — I have an infant memory of a time when I am not 
much older than Alexander. I am playing with my twin brother in 
the backyard of my aunt's home in a Lancashire cotton town. Sud- 
denly, great whooping giants in U.S. Air Force uniforms (although 
with the crystal-clear recollection of childhood, I now realize that 
they had the lithe figures of very young men) leap out and grab us. 
We are terrified and struggle free. 

Which always made me feel bad in subsequent years. They were 
far from home, lodging with my aunt. And they just wanted a sou- 
venir photograph. 

They were the Cold War tail of that vast host that had come to 
Britain during World War II, when the whole town had resounded 
night and day to the roar of B-17 engines on the test beds at the 
great Burtonwood air base, and everyone had been glad to hear 
them. They were, as Robert E. Lee once described his troops at a 
critical point in the Wilderness campaign, not professional soldiers 
but citizens who had taken up arms for their country. Nevertheless, 
Housman's "Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries" applies to them: 

Their shoulders held the sky suspended; 
They stood, and earth's foundations stay. 

I don't know what happened to them, although I remember one 
young wife showing us the first color slides we had ever seen, of 
Southern California, and explaining that they hoped to move to 
this breathtaking paradise — it was, remember, the early 1950s — 
when they got out of the service. 

They will be old now, if they are still alive. I don't know what 


they or their children think of the unprecedented experiment being 
performed — apparently by accident and certainly with no appre- 
hension of the possible consequences — upon the nation they so 
bravely represented. 
I do know, however, that they ought to be asked. 





These population dynamics will result in the "browning" of Amer- 
ica, the Hispanization of America. It is already happening and it is 


former mayor of San Antonio, Texas; Secretary of Housing and Urban 
Development in the Clinton administration 

My grandparents came from Lebanon. Idont identify with the Pil- 
grims on a personal level. 


Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Clinton administration 

We are transforming ourselves . . . 


Commissioner, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in the 
Clinton administration (who approves) 

Dante, the great poet of medieval Italy, would have been de- 
lighted by the Immigration and Naturalization Service's 
waiting rooms. They would have provided him with a tenth 
Circle of Hell to add to the nine degrees of damnation he described 
in his most famous work, the Inferno. 

There is something distinctly infernal about the INS spec- 
tacle. So many lost souls wait around so hopelessly, mutually in- 
comprehensible in virtually every language under the sun, each 
clutching a number from one of those ticket-vending machines 
which may or may not be honored by the harassed INS clerks 
before the end of the civil service working day. 

The danger of damnation is low — sort of. A Scottish friend 


of mine did once find himself flung into the deportation holding 
tank because the INS misunderstood its own rules. And toward the 
end of my own ten-year trek through the system, I whiled away a lot 
of time watching confrontations between suspicious INSers and ag- 
itated Iranians, apparently hauled in because the Iran hostage crisis 
had inspired the Carter administration to ask just exactly how 
many of them there were enrolled as students in U.S. universities 

(The INS was unable to provide an answer during the hostage 
crisis's 444 days. Or, as it turned out, at all. 1 ) 

You can still get a pretty good blast of brimstone, however. Try 
suggesting that it might be another of those misunderstandings 
when, having finally reached the head of the line, you are ordered 
by the clerk to go away and come back another day with a previ- 
ously unmentioned Form XYZ. 

Your fellow huddled masses accept this treatment with a horrible 
passivity. Perhaps it is imbued in them by aeons of arbitrary gov- 
ernment in their native lands. Only rarely is there a flurry of protest. 
At its center, almost invariably, is an indignant American spouse. 


We are looking here at something crucially significant: the Great 
American Immigration Paradox. Just as New York City's govern- 
ment can't stop muggers but does a great job ticketing young 
women on Park Avenue for failing to scoop up after their lapdogs, 
U.S. immigration policy in effect enforces the law only against 
those who obey it. 

Annual legal immigration of about 1 million — counting the 
100,000 refugees and the 100,000 applying for political asylum — is 
overwhelmed by an estimated 2 to 3 million illegal entries into the 
country in every recent year. 

Many of these illegal entrants go back home, of course. In fact, 
some commute across the border every day. But, year by year, the 
number of illegal immigrants who settle permanently in the United 
States grows. Here's how to think about it: if you balance the gross 


illegal immigration against gross departures of illegals, you find 
the net increase in the illegal immigrant population. A cautious INS 
estimate: this net illegal immigration has been running at about 
300,000 to 500,000 annually. 2 No one, however, really knows. 

The INS bureaucracy still grinds through its rituals. But the real- 
ity remains as President Ronald Reagan described it in 1983: "This 
country has lost control of its borders. " 

"And" Reagan added, "no country can sustain that kind of posi- 

Indeed, the loss of control is even more complete than Reagan 
suggested. Much of the current legal immigration can't be kept out 
either. The majority of those lost souls in the INS waiting room will 
find salvation, in the form of U.S. residence, in the end. 

This is because most legal immigrants — usually between a half 
and two thirds — are accepted more or less automatically under the 
various family-reunification provisions of current U.S. law. 

Then there are refugees, who apply for admission while they are 
still abroad, and political asylum seekers, who apply once in the 
United States. And, similarly, the weird workings of the American 
legal system have made it virtually impossible to expel asylum seek- 
ers once they land on U.S. soil. 

In fact in early 1993 another immigration scandal erupted: it 
emerged that foreigners were getting off planes at New York's John 
F. Kennedy Airport at an annualized rate rising rapidly through 
15,000, applying for asylum and, because of lack of detention space, 
being released into the United States on a promise to present them- 
selves at a future hearing, which not more than 5 percent ever did. 4 
(Not that it matters if they do. An unofficial INS estimate is that 
eight out of every ten asylum applicants end up staying in the 
United States quite regardless of whether or not their applications 
are approved. 5 ) 

This inability to expel asylum seekers once they set foot in the 
United States is why both the Bush and Clinton administrations 
were forced to order the interception of boats carrying would-be 
illegal immigrants from Haiti on the high seas. And it's why the 
Clinton administration had to beg humbly that the Mexican gov- 
ernment halt and return home shiploads of smuggled Chinese. 


As invariably happens with immigration policy, what was in- 
tended (or at least alleged) to be kind turns out to be cruel. We will 
be returning to this theme later. 

Naturally, I take a deep personal interest in these immigration 
idiosyncrasies. After all, as it turned out I could have avoided my 
INS decade simply by ignoring the law and staying here after I 
graduated from Stanford University Graduate School of Business 
in 1972. That way, I would have been amnestied, along with what 
seems likely to be about 3 million other illegal immigrants, by the 
1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act — known in the trade as 


Current immigration policy offers another parallel with New 
York. Just as when you leave Park Avenue and descend into the 
subway, when you enter the INS waiting rooms you find yourself in 
an underworld that is not just teeming but is also almost entirely 

In 1 990, for example, only 8 percent of the 1 .5 million legal immi- 
grants, including amnestied illegals, came from Europe. (And a 
good few of those were individuals who were re-emigrating, having 
originally come from Asia or the Caribbean.) 

You have to be totally incurious not to wonder: where do all 
these people get off and come to the surface? 

That is: what impact will they all have on America? 

It is a characteristic of the American immigration debate that 
even the simplest statement of fact meets with deep and persistent 
denial from immigration enthusiasts. Thus Professor Julian L. 
Simon of the University of Maryland is perhaps the most celebrated 
advocate of the economic advantages of immigration. In his fa- 
mous 1989 pro-immigration polemic The Economic Consequences 
of Immigration, he states flatly: "Contemporary immigration is not 
high by U. S. historical standards. " 6 

I saw this claim repeated by a Simon disciple, Steven Moore of 
the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., in mid-1994. Quite obvi- 
ously, a lot of people are deeply and emotionally attached to the 
comforting thought that this has all (yawn) happened before (ho- 
hum . . .). 

Sometimes, but not always, the immigration enthusiasts attempt 


to defend the case for complacency by adding new statistical wrin- 
kles. Occasionally, these are ingenious, and even relevant. 

Well, in this section, we will iron out these wrinkles once and for 
all. We will pursue the issue of how immigration stands by compari- 
son with U.S. historical standards to the bitter end. 

But first, a caution: 

• How today's immigration compares with U.S. historical standards is 
ultimately irrelevant. The real question is: can today's immigration 
be absorbed? 

It hardly matters whether the floodwaters have reached the re- 
cord level set in 1900 — if, in the interim, a city has been built on the 
floodplain. In 1995, that city is arguably America's affirmative- 
action welfare state. 

With that in mind, let's look at the facts about immigration (see 
Chart 1, pages 30-31). 

Chart 1 does put the immigration enthusiasts' claim into some- 
thing like perspective. Its message is simple and stark: 

• Immigration to the United States is indeed at historic highs. In the 
language of jet-plane test pilots, the United States now is pushing 
right to the outside edge of its performance "envelope." 

You can see at a glance that the recent immigration peak of 
1990-91 towers far above the previous record set in 1907, during 
the First Great Wave at the turn of the century. 

During the whole Great Wave decade, from 1901 to 1910, about 
8.7 million immigrants arrived in the United States. In the decade of 
1981 to 1990 just passed, legal immigration into the United States 
amounted to some 7.3 million. Which means that, counting illegal 
immigrants — who were not a factor in the earlier period, when the 
borders were more or less open — the 1981-90 numbers probably 
matched, and may well have exceeded, the earlier record. 

Another glance reveals a further interesting phenomenon: the 
1900-1914 Great Wave, which is the period that immigration en- 
thusiasts always like to cite, was in itself quite exceptional. In fact, 
today's immigration is not just at record levels compared with 



Chart 1 


Legal immigration to the United States 1820-2040 






1907-— a If 
1,285,349 ■ 


1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890 1900 1910 1920 





1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 



1901-14: by comparison with overall U.S. historical standards, it is 
extraordinarily high. 

Note also the rapid pickup after the 1965 reform. Immigration 
spiked up by 1968, as the legislation became fully effective. And it 
has never looked back. 


But, but, BUT! some immigration enthusiasts protest. It's unfair to 
include in recent annual figures the very large numbers of illegal immi- 
grants amnestied each year by the 1986 IRCA legislation. That was 
an exceptional situation, they say. 

My attitude: the illegal immigrants came here, didn't they? After 
all, by including them in recent years, we are only compensating for 
not counting them in earlier years. 

But I want to be fair (naturally). So let's adjust for IRCA. (See 
Chart 2, below.) 

Chart 2 


Legal immigration without IRCA amnesties 



a 1991 

m Total with 

©© IRCA amnesties 


® o 
© © 


Total without 

IRCA amnesties 






1980 1985 



As it turns out, adjusting for IRCA reveals yet another interest- 
ing phenomenon. For most of American history, immigration has 
risen and fallen very sharply. On a chart, it looks like a saw-tooth 
mountain range. But after 1965, immigration has been building in a 
strikingly consistent way. It looks like a ramp ... or a springboard. 

Unlike previous waves, the post- 1965 immigration does not seem 
to be affected very much by economic conditions in the United 
States — such as the 1990-91 recession that helped to turn President 
George Bush out of his job. In fact, the rising trend line over the 
entire period since the 1965 Act came into effect has been generally 
smooth — suspiciously smooth. 

Why? There are two obvious reasons. Firstly, the emphasis 
placed by the 1965 Act on "family reunification" rather than the 
importation of workers to fill specific labor needs. Secondly, the 
magnet of the modern American welfare state. 

Both have served to uncouple immigration from American eco- 
nomic conditions . . . and, not coincidentally, from American eco- 
nomic needs. 

Let alone from political, cultural or national needs. 

Which leads us to a central truth about the current influx: 

• The current immigration to the United States is not an economic 
phenomenon: it is a political phenomenon. 

We'll be returning to this truth later. Several times. 

Now, let's not forget about those illegals. They are still coming. 
Indeed, after a short hesitation, they seem to be coming about as 
strong as ever. 

Of course, illegal immigration is a difficult thing to measure. One 
way is to chart the Border Patrol's count of apprehensions at the 
border. The results are shown in Chart 3, page 34. 

The Border Patrol estimates it catches about a third of all illegal 
immigrants as they attempt to cross the border. Since 1.3 million 
were apprehended in 1993, this suggests a remarkable 2 to 3 million 
illegal immigrants may have succeeded in entering the country in 

And, as a result, the permanent illegal-immigrant presence in the 
United States is beginning to build up again. As we saw, the INS 










Chart 3 


Alien apprehensions at border 1925-1994 

"Operation Wetback" 
i^rj - crackdown starts 

1,954 — ■- 1 sharp decline 



1925 '30 '35 '40 '45 '50 '55 '60 '65 70 75 '80 '85 '90 

estimate is that the net increase is a flow of 300,000 to 500,000 each 
year, and that there is a stock of some 4 million illegals now in the 
United States. Suppose the net increase has been 500,000 annually. 
That would once again mean that by subtracting IRCA legaliza- 
tions but adding new net illegal immigration, 1990 and 1991 were 
unarguably the record years in U.S. immigration history (for what 
the record's worth). 

Could be. Who knows? Enormous numbers of illegal aliens are 
crossing the U.S. border constantly, in both directions. 


"They're just commuters," immigration enthusiasts like to sniff. 
But in fact the gross number of illegals is important. It is a measure 
of the impact on the border region. It is a measure of the public 
health problem— infection can be spread by even brief contacts. 
Also, it's a measure of the precarious future. 

Because the situation is highly leveraged. Suppose even a small 
additional proportion of those 3 million illegal entrants each year 
decide to stay for good — say one in ten, or 300,000. Then the rate of 
increase of the illegal population permanently in the United States 
would have suddenly nearly doubled, at least, from, between 
300,000-500,000 to 600,000-800,000 annually. ) ., 

And it would be quite some time before anyone'iffyund out for 

Except, of course, the long-suffering residents of San Diego and 
other border counties. And no one in the national media pays atten- 
tion to them anyway. 

In effect, by allowing its borders to vanish under this vast whirl- 
ing mass of illegal immigrants, the United States is running on the 
edge of a demographic buzz saw. One day, it could suddenly look 
down to find California or Texas cut off. 

Whatever else the IRCA legislation was supposed to do, it has 
quite clearly failed to control illegal immigration. Politicians of all 
parties are now making noises about addressing the problem. 

This has happened before. Look at the surge of illegal entries in 
the early 1950s. President Eisenhower brought it under control in 
1954 with "Operation Wetback," a coordinated attack (on illegal 
immigration both at the border and within the United States. So it 
can be done. 

Still . . . what's the betting on another amnesty? 


"But, but, BUT, BUT!!" immigration enthusiasts protest again. 
"You can't just look at absolute numbers of immigrants. You have to 
look at immigration relative to the American population. And looked 
at like that, it's not historically high at all. " 


Well, at first sight, this does seem like a reasonable wrinkle, 
doesn't it? How easily a given wave of immigration can be handled 
does seem related to the size of the host population. 

Thus, for example, during the previous Great Wave in the first 
years of the twentieth century, the total U.S. population was in the 
process of rising through the level of only a third of what it is today. 
The Bureau of the Census recorded just over 90 million Americans 
in 1910, when just over 1 million immigrants arrived. But there were 
just over 250 million Americans in 1993, when about 1 million legal 
immigrants were reported. 

So in 1910, immigration amounted to just over 1 percent of the 
American population. But in 1990, immigration amounted to only 
0.4 percent — or say 0.6 percent, adjusted for illegals. 

Don't get carried away by all this reasonableness, however. Ab- 
solute numbers matter — absolutely. In at least two ways. 


• Absolute numbers matter because concentrations can cause trouble. 
Immigrants do not spread all across the United States in a thin, 
tactful layer just six one-hundredths of a native-born American 
thick. Or even four one-hundredths thick. They invariably ac- 
cumulate in specific localities. 

For example, the INS reports that more than three quarters of all 
legal immigration goes to just six states: California, Texas, Illinois, 
Florida, New York and New Jersey. And most to just six metropol- 
itan areas: Los Angeles, Anaheim, Chicago, Miami, New York and 
Washington, D.C. 7 

When the immigrants' absolute numbers in these localities pass a 
certain point, their communities achieve a critical mass. Their alien 
languages and cultures become, at least for a while, self-sustaining. 
And the natives start asking themselves: "Are we still living in 

For example, the Cubanization of the Miami area has become 
legendary. But Cuban immigration since 1960 has been only about 
650,000 — a fraction of the 19 million legal immigrants who have 
come to the United States since 1960. The Cuban community in 


Florida, with its American-born offspring, is probably about 
500,000. It has been, however, enough to transform the area. 

"For the better!" immigrant enthusiasts say. Maybe — although it 
would be interesting to know what the Americans living in southern 
Florida would have said in 1960 . . . had they been asked. 

Whether the transformation was for better or worse, however, is 
irrelevant. The point is this: quite small absolute numbers of Cuban 
immigrants were sufficient to create this enclave. And the post- 1965 
immigrant influx has been quite large enough to create many such 
enclaves — turning America into a sort of Swiss cheese. 

There is an American tradition of worrying about these immi- 
grant enclaves that goes back at least to George Washington. In 
1785, he objected to the organized importation of English immi- 
grants to form buffer settlements on the frontier, arguing that their 
foreign allegiance might survive precisely because they were "de- 
tached and unmixed with citizens of different sentiments . . ." 8 Al- 
most a century later, in 1874, a proposal to reserve western land for 
communities of German-speaking Mennonites was rejected by 
Congress on similar grounds. 9 Today, of course, such enclaves are 
viewed as delightful examples of diversity. 


• Absolute numbers matter because comparisons can be deceptive. It 
may seem reasonable to insist on expressing immigration relative 
to host population size. But it does cause something of a statistical 

A moment's simple arithmetic shows you why: it is mathemati- 
cally impossible to maintain any very high proportion of immi- 
grants, relative to a country's host population, as the host 
population grows. After all, immigration has never been relatively 
higher than when the second Pilgrim Father came down the gang- 
plank. That increased the Plymouth Colony's population by 100 
percent in just a few seconds. It went from one Pilgrim to two Pil- 
grims. No recent period can match that relative immigration rate. 
But immigration can still be at crisis levels. 

Today, the United States is the third most populous country on 


earth, after China and India. Regardless of whether the current 
level of immigration relative to U.S. population is historically high, 
it is still high enough to mean that in recent years, the United States 
has been taking almost half of all the legal immigrants going to the 
developed world. 

In other words, half of all the legal immigrants in the developed 
world are zeroing in on a country with 7 percent of the world's land 
surface and less than 5 percent of its population. No wonder the 
boat is starting to rock. 

Still, just to be fair (again), let's look at immigration relative to 
U.S. population (see Chart 4, pages 40-41). 

Points positively leap out: 

• The Era of Mass Immigration is only an episode in American his- 
tory. Visible on Chart 4: the Second Great Lull of 1920-1965— 
and the lesser known, earlier Great Lull prior to the 1840s. 
Although numbers weren't kept before 1820, immigration from 
Europe was virtually halted by the Napoleonic Wars from 1792 to 
1815. 10 

• Current immigration is significant — even allowing for the statistical 
mirage caused by today's much larger U.S. population. Note that 
expected immigration levels above 1 million a year through the 
1990s will work out at above five per thousand, well above Immi- 
gration Era lows. Adding 3 million annual gross illegal immi- 
grants — almost twelve per thousand — would take the total to 
Immigration Era peaks. 

• Even during the Immigration Era, there were dramatic ups and 
downs. These pauses constitute a hidden dimension of American 
immigration history. They have vitally assisted the process of as- 

By contrast, the current underlying legal immigration is build- 
ing steadily but relentlessly. 


Not just illegal immigrants go back home. Legal immigrants also 

decide to leave the United States. Sometimes in very large numbers. 

Although you don't hear as much about it, as many as a third of 


the 1880-1925 Great Wave seem eventually to have gone back 
home, over 3 million in each of the first two decades of this century. 
By some accounts, net immigration was actually negative in some 
years in the 1930s, during the 1925-1965 Second Great Lull. More 
people were leaving the United States than were entering it. 

So just as gross illegal entries have to be set against gross illegal 
exits to get net illegal immigration, so gross legal immigration 
should really be set against gross emigration of legal immigrants. 
That gives us net legal immigration. 

Net immigration is very difficult to measure. As a free country, 
the United States has traditionally made little effort to keep track of 
people wishing to leave. But the evidence suggests that this phe- 
nomenon of net immigration amounts to another hidden dimension 
of American immigration history, to match the pattern of pauses. 
And funny things are happening in this dimension too. 

One estimate of net immigration, both legal and illegal, has been 
made by the demographers Jeffrey S. Passel and Barry Edmonston 
of the (generally pro-immigrant) Urban Institute of Washington, 
D.C. (see Chart 5, page 42). 

Passell and Edmonston adjusted INS data for illegal immigrants, 
refugees and various other special categories, which have become 
very large since the 1965 Immigration Act. And they made their 
own estimate of departures. Their conclusion: 

Net immigration in the 1900-1910 decade was 4.9 million — well 
below the 8.2 million weffigure we estimate for the 1980s. In fact, our 
estimates suggest that the 1970s (not the 1980s) were most compara- 
ble in terms of net immigration to the 1900-1910 decade, with the 
1980s clearly exceeding all other decades. 11 

Note the funny thing that is happening in the net immigration 
dimension: significantly more of the post-1965 Second Great Wave 
immigrants seem to be staying in the United States — in contrast to 
thepre-1920 First Great Wave immigrants. 

Why? Passel and Edmonston don't say. But there is one obvious 
difference between early-twentieth-century America and late- 
twentieth-century America: the welfare state. 

And in fact, there is new and disturbing evidence that the post- 



Chart 4 



Avg. immigration 
in 18th century 


1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890 190 




Annual rate of gross legal immigration per thousand of U.S. population 1820-1992 

Includes estimated gross illegal immigration — ► 1 3 

1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1992 



Chart 5 

8.2 million 


BY DECADE 1900-10 THROUGH 1980-90 

1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 


1965 Second Great Wave immigrants are going on welfare in 
sharply higher proportions than in the past. (See Chapter 7.) 

To put it brutally: the failures are no longer winnowed out. In- 
stead, they are encouraged to stay — at the expense of the American 

This greater net immigration may well be yet another symptom 
of the central truth we discovered above: current immigration is not 
an economic phenomenon; it is a policy phenomenon. The policy in 
this case is transfer payments, from the American taxpayer to (in 
some degree) immigrants. 

Thus as we iron out the wrinkles, the immigration enthusiasts' 
case for complacency gets steadily weaker. 



So much for the immigration enthusiasts' wrinkles. Now let's intro- 
duce one of our own. It is a crucial point invariably omitted in pro- 
immigration polemics: 

• At the beginning of this century, the U.S. birthrate was much higher, 
as much as twice what it is now. Now American Anglos are repro- 
ducing below replacement levels — generally defined as 2. 1 children 
per woman. So post-1965 Second Great Wave immigrants are hav- 
ing a proportionately much higher demographic impact on America 
than thepre-1925 First Great Wave. 

Hence the steadily shifting ethnic balance. 

Demographers like to measure this effect by expressing immigra- 
tion as a proportion of population change. Population change, of 
course, is the birthrate (which is down in this case), less the death 
rate (which is also down), plus net immigration (up). According to 
the Urban Institute's Jeffrey Passell and Barry Edmonston, the re- 
sult looks like what you see in Chart 6, below. 

Chart 6 


Net immigration as percentage of 
population growth 1910-2040 # $3% 


1910 1940 1990 2040 




Now we are really getting somewhere. These calculations by Pas- 
sel and Edmonston clearly show that the post- 1965 Second Great 
Wave of Immigration has driven the United States way outside its 
historical envelope. Immigration in the 1980s was contributing a 
significantly higher proportion of population growth (37.1 percent) 
than it was in the legendary 1900-1910 decade (27.8 percent). In 
fact, immigration had already contributed a higher share of popula- 
tion growth in the 1970s (32.6 percent). 

But the band played on — notwithstanding these numbers, there 
was all that persistent happy talk from immigration enthusiasts 
about immigration being really still quite low. 

Looking at immigration's contribution to population growth, 
however, still does not finish the story. As we noted above, after 
immigrants arrive in the United States, they have children too. In 
fact, in some cases they seem to have children at a faster pace than 
the native-born Americans. So the true impact of immigration is the 
proportion of immigrants and their descendants in the American 
population. (See Chart 7, below.) 

Chart 7 provides Passel and Edmonston's estimate of this im- 
pact. The lower line tracks the proportion of the U.S. population 
that is foreign-born — in other words, the immigrants. This re- 
mained high through the nineteenth century, as high immigration 
Chart 7 


Foreign-born and foreign-stock (immigrants plus U.S.-born children) 
as a percentage of U.S. population 1870-2040 


1870 1890 1910 1930 1950 1970 1990 2010 2030 


was matched by rapid natural growth. Then it fell sharply during 
the 1925-1965 Second Great Lull. But it rebounded after the 1965 
Immigration Act. By 1990, the foreign-born proportion had more 
than doubled. Passel and Edmonston project that in the foreseeable 
future it will rise to the high levels last seen in the nineteenth cen- 

The upper line tracks the proportion of "foreign stock" — which 
Passel and Edmonston define as immigrants and their children (but 
not grandchildren and subsequent generations). And this is also on 
the move. It is projected to reach some 27 percent in 2040. This is 
about where it was in 1870, after the great Irish and German immi- 
grant wave of mid-century. 

Make no mistake: what we are looking at here is a demographic 
event of seismic proportions. Don't be deceived by another of those 
statistical mirages. In 1870, the Bureau of the Census reported a 
total U.S. population of barely more than 38.5 million. By contrast, 
U.S. population in 2040 is projected to be over seven times as large. 
In order to produce a "foreign stock" proportion of similar magni- 
tude, the absolute size of the projected immigrant movement into 
the United States in the twenty-first century must be enormous — 
and the natural increase of the native-born Americans virtually 

And this is exactly what seems to be happening. 


One leading authority on immigration is the demographer Leon 
Bouvier, former vice president of the Population Reference Bureau, 
adjunct professor of geography at Tulane University School of 
Public Health, and most recently, author with Lindsey Grant of 
How Many Americans? Population, Immigration and the Environ- 
ment (Sierra Club, 1994). Recently, using slightly different assump- 
tions than his Urban Institute peers, Bouvier asked the question: 
what would have happened if there had been no immigration at all 
after 1970? (The 1970 Census, of course, was closest to the point at 
which the 1965 Immigration Act became effective.) 


And, Bouvier added, what will happen next? 

In other words, Bouvier allowed not only for post- 1970 immi- 
grants and their children — the group that Passell and Edmonstori 
defined as "foreign stock" — but also for their children's children 
. . . and all of their descendants. 

He got this startling answer. I call it the Wedge Chart (see page 

The two decades from 1970 to 1990 were always bound to be in- 
terestingj demographically speaking. It was the period during 
which the post-World War II Baby Boom generation would start 
to have their own children. 

As it turned out, however, this Baby Boom echo was quite 
muted. Boomer women averaged less than two children apiece. So, 
somewhat unexpectedly, population growth would have been quite 
moderate— just an additional 23 million Americans by 1990. 

Except for the 1965 Immigration Act. That policy switch allowed 
a flood of immigrants who, with their descendants, more than dou- 
bled population growth — to over 46 million. 

And the answer to Bouvier's question is going to get even more 
startling. He projects that immigrants and their descendants will 
make up about two thirds of U.S. population growth during the 
1990s. Thereafter, they will supply virtually all population growth. 

By 2050, the Census Bureau estimates U.S. population will have 
reached 392 million. By Bouvier's count, at that point more than a 
third (36 percent) of the U.S. population will be post-1970 immi- 
grants and their descendants— a staggering 139 million people. 

On Chart 8, this immigration component looks like a wedge, be- 
cause the native-born Americans are expected to have stabilized 
and even slightly reduced their numbers in the next century. Envi- 
ronmentalists praise this restraint — they think it is the ecologically 
responsible thing to do. And maybe it is. But this restraint by 
native-born Americans is wasted anyway. The resulting gap is 
much more than filled by immigration policy. 

And here, finally, after ironing out all immigration's statistical 
wrinkles, we reach the bitter end. 

• Immigration policy is quite literally driving a wedge between the 
American nation, as it had evolved by 1965, and its future. 

Chart 8 



ass-"" 1 " 9 ;^'' 

n.mwrrt' " 


l9 70-2050 













Sounds too harsh? Well, this much is undeniable: the American 
nation of 1965 is going to have to share its future, and its land, with 
a very large number of people who, as of that year, were complete 
strangers. Foreigners. Aliens. 

"Oh, but they'll assimilate/' insist the immigration enthusiasts. 
"They always have. " 

To which the only possible answer is: they'd better. 

Because America has never faced a greater challenge. This pro- 
jected new population growth is quite comparable to — could even 
exceed— anything experienced in the great Immigration Era of the 
nineteenth century. 

To put it in perspective, consider this arresting fact: 

• If there had been no immigration at all into the United States after 
1790, the American population in 1990 would still have been an 
estimated 122 million— just less than half (49 percent) of the actual 
249 million. 12 

That is, the United States in 1990 would still have been much big- 
ger than the reunited Germany (80 million) and virtually identical 
to Japan (123 million). 

Surprised? It's just the natural result of very high early birthrates 
and the length of time that has elapsed. For example, almost all (92 
percent) of the 31 million American blacks are descended from just 
427,000 slaves who were brought to the United States, mostly in the 
strikingly short period between 1740 and 1810. 13 Even more re- 
markable, more than 16 million Americans are estimated to be de- 
scended from the 21,000 English Puritans who took part in the 
"Great Migration" to New England that occurred between 1629 
and 1640. 14 

To put it another way: two centuries of immigration were respon- 
sible for about half the actual 1990 population. But just ninety 
years of immigration look likely to be responsible for more than a 
third of the projected 2050 population. 

Or consider this further fact: 

• The proportion of the American population that was of southern 
and eastern European origin, essentially all stemming from post- 


1870 immigration and provoking the intense controversy that cul- 
minated in the Great Restriction, is estimated to have been only 
about 13 percent of the total U.S. population in 1930. 15 

The proportion of the total U.S. population stemming from post- 
1970 immigration was already over half that (8 percent) in 1990 — 
and rising. 16 

Everyone agrees that America's assimilation of its nineteenth- 
century immigration was exceptional in world history. But contem- 
plating what the United States has done, and is now being required 
to do again, reminds me of the sign American garage mechanics like 
to have up on their wall: 




In the 1890-1920 period, the relative size of the Colonial-stock 
population served as a powerful stabilizer. And, although the First 
Great Wave of Immigration crested very high, it also broke and was 
ended very quickly. The numbers are quite different today. 

Even apart from the really crucial questions: 

• Are these immigrants as assimilable as those in the previous waves? 

• Is the United States stOl as capable of assimilating them as it was in 

We will consider those questions on pages 216-19. 


All of these demographic projections, of course, must make some 
fairly daring assumptions about things to come. In particular, the 
Wedge scenario assumes the continuation of current low fertility 
rates among the native-born Americans. And it also assumes that 
immigration continues at the present level. Either could prove un- 
true, or both. For example, immigration could be lower. Or it could 
be higher. 


But one projection can be made with a pretty fair degree of cer- 
tainty: no real immigration pause is going to happen spontaneously. 
Unlike other immigration waves in American history, this latest 
wave shows absolutely no sign of receding anytime in the foresee- 
able future. 

Nor is there any particular reason to suppose that it will. 

Everyone has heard a lot about the world's "population explo- 
sion." It's a cliche. But guess what? It's really happening. Indeed, 
the explosion is so dramatic that the demographer Michael S. Tei- 
telbaum of New York's Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has written 
that it "can be described without exaggeration as revolutionary, a vir- 
tual discontinuity with all human history. " ll 

Most of this growth is in the Third World. Since the 1965 Immi- 
gration Act, immigration to the United States has been predomi- 
nantly from the Third World — over 90 percent in the early 1990s. 
But there's plenty more where that came from (see Chart 9, page 

Note that Chart 9 assumes the United States will grow rapidly, 
because of continued heavy immigration. But nevertheless, it is still 
totally dwarfed by the Third World demographic overhang. And 
that overhang hangs over more and more as the twenty-first century 
wears on. 

Let's suppose the United States will grow at the very fastest rate 
the Bureau of the Census considers possible. Then it would have 
about 500 million people in 2050. That's twice as many as today — 
something to think about if you ride the New York City subway or 
drive on Southern California's roads. But even that entire, unimagi- 
nably swollen, American population would still be only about half a 
decade's projected growth for the Third World. 

Which leads us to an important conclusion: 

• Third World population problems cannot be solved by immigration 
to the United States. The numbers simply do not compute. 

The United States is not a safety valve: it is a pint pot, into which 
a quart (or in this case several gallons) just won't go. 
But current immigration policy is to try anyway. 



Chart 9 


Population in the U.S., assuming continued immigration, 
and in the developing world 1990-2050 






■ 383 million 

365 million 

345 million 

1 323 million 

1 299 million 



275 million 

(actual) ■ 249 million 

Developing world 

8,2 iftliion 

i"5v7- billion 

4 1 billion 

3 4 5 


Of course, not all those people are ready to come. But many are. 
David A. Coleman, Lecturer in Demography at Oxford Univer- 
sity's Department of Applied Social Studies and Social Research, 
has estimated current demand to emigrate from the Third World to 
the West at 60 million persons. 18 

And the Third World demographic overhang may be even more 
ominous than it looks at first sight. For three reasons: 


• Most Third World populations are much younger than that of the 
United States. For example, well over 45 percent of Africans are 
younger than fifteen, whereas just over 20 percent of Americans 
are. 19 


This means that a much higher proportion of Chart 9's Third 
World population blocks is about to move into the twenty-forty 
age range — the group most likely to emigrate. 


• Within the Third World, an immense migration to the cities is un- 
derway. And that's usually the first step that leads to emigration. 

The United Nations Population Fund estimates that the Third 
World urban populations will increase, in absolute numbers, about 
sixteen times between 1950 and 2025. That's more than three times 
the growth rate of the First World's cities during industrialization 
in the nineteenth century. 20 It means profound social disruption. 

Demographers have a rather insensitive name for the great 
sprawling megalopolises of the Third World like Mexico City, 
Cairo or Calcutta: they call them "primate cities. " But that does 
give a good impression of their savagery and of their King Kong- 
like domination of their respective countries. And ever more people 
are taking that first step of migrating to them. 


• Third World population growth is particularly vulnerable to envi- 
ronmental disaster. And this will create "environmental refugees." 

Poor, ignorant, desperate people are quite naturally more likely 
to deforest, overgraze and overcultivate all the land they can get 
their hands on. Thus the UN estimates that 450 million people 
today live in areas subject to soil erosion, floods and other environ- 
mental hazards. And the UN has also calculated that if "global 
warming" becomes a reality, some 16 percent of the population of 
Egypt and 10 percent of the population of Bangladesh, for example, 
could become "environmental refugees." 21 That's over 20 million 
people just from those two countries alone. 

Scared by that world population overhang? Or contemptuous of 
such a cliche? (Even though cliches can be true, they get boring.) 
Both reactions are common. So: a final word about population 

People who think about population growth tend to divide into 


two contending camps. Those in the first camp really are seriously 
scared — one celebrated case is Stanford University's Paul Ehrlich, 
author of the 1968 bestseller The Population Bomb. They think that 
world population will soar right past the capacity of the planet to 
sustain it, leading to environmental catastrophe, mass starvation 
and an eventual collapse right down to (and even below) sustaina- 
ble levels. This pattern of boom and bust happens regularly in na- 
ture. It is quite typical for insects. Perhaps not coincidentally, 
Ehrlich is by profession an entomologist — a zoologist who studies 
insects. His specialty: butterflies. 

The second camp of population-growth watchers are contemptu- 
ous because they are optimists. One prominent optimist: the Uni- 
versity of Maryland's Julian Simon. Optimists argue, essentially, 
that human beings are not butterflies. Human beings, they say, have 
the intelligence to adapt to conditions. Thus the population of the 
world has increased more than six times since 1800. But output in- 
creased even faster, because of the inventions that revolutionized 
industry and — less often recognized — agriculture. Despite all that 
population growth, living standards everywhere are far higher now 
than they were then. 

Moreover (the optimists add) as societies become richer, birth- 
rates tend to fall. This is what happened in the developed Western 
World. There's even a name for the phenomenon: "The Demo- 
graphic Transition." 

My Libra-like reaction: both sides make important points. 

On the one hand, there have indeed been cases of human popula- 
tion catastrophes. The population of Ireland grew rapidly after the 
introduction of the potato, from 1.25 million in 1600 to 8.5 million 
in 1840. Then it collapsed, after disease repeatedly destroyed the 
potato crop. Eventually, it declined to a low of 4.5 million in 1900. 

For that matter, the population of Europe fell by more than a 
quarter in the final years of the Roman Empire. It did not recover 
until a.d. 1000. 

On the other hand, the optimists are quite right about the Indus- 
trial Revolution. And world population growth is indeed starting to 
slow. The UN projects that it will probably stabilize (at a mere 1 1 .5 
billion — over twice today's level!) in about two hundred years. 



For the purposes of immigration policy, however, the point to 
grasp is this: 

• If the population optimists are right, they are right in general. 
There is plenty of room for unpleasantness in detail. 

In the context of the grand upsweep of world population over the 
next century, something that appears now perfectly predictable, 
one of those unpleasant details could easily be the snuffing out of 
the American nation— like a candle in a gale. 


Immigration is responsible for a virtually unique American pecu- 
liarity: the U.S. population is (as we have seen) projected to go on 
growing into the next century. By contrast, almost all the other 
countries in the industrialized First World are expected to stabilize 
(see Chart 10, below). 

Chart 10 


Projected increase in developed world's populations 
1993-2025, 1993-2050 

■ ia ii m n m 






Environmentalists worry about this American oddity. They are 
concerned that the U.S. population will exceed the country's "car- 
rying capacity" — the number of people that its natural resources, 
combined with current technology, can support on a sustainable 

But immigration enthusiasts, and some others, welcome con- 
tinued U.S. population growth. "Other industrial nations must cope 
with static or declining labor forces," crowed Business Week recently 
(August 9, 1993). "The U.S. ratio [of workers to aged dependents] 
will still be higher than that of most other advanced nations . . ." 

Maybe. Except that raw labor input is probably not very impor- 
tant to economic growth. (See Chapter 8, page 166.) But, mean- 
while, when contemplating the glories of an ever-expanding U.S. 
population, remember this point: 

• The post-1965 immigration is not only much bigger than expected; 
it is also less skilled. And it is becoming even less so. 

There should be no surprise about this. It is a direct consequence 
of the 1965 Immigration Act's stress on "family reunification." The 
act skewed immigration selection away from those who wanted to 
come here because they had marketable skills — and even away 
from those whom American employers had found and wanted to 
bring here. 

Even worse, the evidence is that relative lack of skills among the 
post-1965 immigrants seems likely to be repeated among their chil- 

This contradicts another of those Statue of Liberty myths: ped- 
dlers' sons are supposed to become rocket scientists. Some do. But 
most don't. They never did. Recent research has found that dispari- 
ties in economic performance between some of the 1890-1920 immi- 
grant groups have persisted for as much as four generations. 22 It is 
not a problem that can be solved by the American education system. 

The conclusion is clear, if unwelcome: 

• By importing so much unskilled labor, the United States is, as a 
practical matter, permanently degrading the quality of its work- 


So that growing U.S. population, compared to the other industri- 
alized countries, could be a boost. But it could also be a burden. 
(For more on this, see Chapter 7.)* 


But there is a question that is ultimately far more important than 

• Regardless of whether the immigrant wedge being driven into the 
United States will be a boost or a harden — will it be American? 

This question greatly concerned Americans during the 1890- 
1920 period that culminated in the First Great Wave. They in- 
stituted a systematic campaign of "Americanization." And, in the 
end, they shut immigration off almost completely. 

But the issue is much more acute today. For the first time, virtu- 
ally all immigrants are racially distinct "visible minorities." They 
come not from Europe, previously the common homeland even for 
the 1890-1920 immigrants about which Americans were so ner- 
vous. Instead, these new immigrants are from completely different, 
and arguably incompatible, cultural traditions. And, as we have 
seen, they are coming in such numbers that their impact on America 
is enormous — inevitably within the foreseeable future, they will 
transform it. 

* As this book was in galleys, the greatest intellectual uproar for many years was 
caused by the publication of Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray's The Bell 
Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life (Free Press), which argued 
that scientific evidence shows human intelligence exists in a measurable way, is 
profoundly important in society, is largely hereditary, and differs, on average, be- 
tween races. In a little-noticed passage, Herrnstein and Murray blamed the 1965 
Immigration Act for a sharp deterioration in immigrant quality. They estimated 
that the current influx has an average IQ of 95, at least 5 points below the white 
American mean. If they are right, of course, this suggests the consequences of cur- 
rent policy are far more disastrous than anything argued in this book. However, I 
figure I've taken enough risks already and merely report their view for what it is 
worth. There are quite enough reasons to worry about immigration without using 
Herrnstein and Murray's work. Would-be demagogues should note that I do not 
so use it here. 


This is an absolutely extraordinary situation. To grasp just how 
extraordinary, consider this: 

• There is no precedent for a sovereign country undergoing such a 
rapid and radical transformation of its ethnic character in the entire 
history of the world. 

We will examine this extraordinary situation in the next chapter. 



Wouldn't it 

Be simpler in that case if the Government 

Dissolved the people and 

Elected another? 


"The Solution" 

As a journalist, I adore angry letters from readers. They give 
you that warm, comforting feeling that somebody, some- 
where, cares. The letter below, however, was particularly 
stimulating. It's one of the responses that National Review ran after 
my immigration cover story. 

[To the question of who should immigrate] Brimelow . . . provides 
the same tired answer given by every ethnic group: "More people 
who look like me." ... He implicitly suggests that the real reason for 
curbing immigration is to maintain the racial hegemony of white 
Americans. 1 

Needless to say, on reading this complaint, I was immedi- 
ately stricken by guilt. You always are. Even though what I 


had actually suggested was a moratorium — no immigration at all. 

But then it occurred to me: Suppose I had proposed more immi- 
grants who look like me. So what? As late as 1950, somewhere up to 
nine out of ten Americans looked like me. That is, they were of 
European stock. 

And in those days, they had another name for this thing dis- 
missed so contemptuously as "the racial hegemony of white Ameri- 

They called it "America." 

Significantly, the writer of the letter, Patrick Burns of Arlington, 
Virginia, noted that he was himself a demographer. Yet the mere 
mention of America's changing ethnic patterns provoked him to 
this angry reaction — in a demographer, the equivalent of a doctor 
fainting at the sight of blood. 

Which is just another reminder of the intense, if unacknowl- 
edged, emotion that drives so many of the American immigration 


The reality, of course, is that ethnic ebb and flow is central to the 
history of American immigration. Chart 1 1 (page 60) captures both 
its proportions and its absolute size. 
Chart 1 1 makes two points immediately obvious. 

• Point 1: the historic role of immigration from northern and west- 
era Europe — Britain, Ireland, Germany, Scandinavia. 

Even in the fabled Ellis Island of 1901-10, this inflow was still 
very strong. In fact, in those years immigration from northern and 
western Europe was quietly about as high as it has ever been. 

So Chart 1 1 has revealed another significant difference between 
the 1890-1920 Great Wave and the post-1965 Second Great Wave. 
In the earlier period, the continued immigration from the tradi- 
tional northern and western European sources meant that not all 
immigrants were alien to American eyes. And it also meant that the 
native-born Americans were receiving continuous ethnic reinforce- 
ment. Neither of these conditions is true today. 

Chart 11 














% % % % %% \ % % % % % % % % % \ 


And yet nevertheless, despite this lubricating flow of familiar im- 
migrants from traditional sources, Americans still decided on immi- 
gration restriction in 1921 

• Point 2: the revolutionary effect of the 1965 Immigration Act. The 
effect of the 1965 Act was not merely the absolute size of the influx 
it triggered (see Chart 1, pages 30-31). Even more important, it 
dramatically skewed the sources of that influx. 

Immigration from northern and western Europe was immedi- 
ately choked off. It had been rising as people reconstructed their 
lives after the chaos of World War II. 

But look at the effect on immigration from eastern and southern 
Europe: it appears to have been almost as restrictive. This was not 
at all expected. 

The result: by the late 1980s, immigration from all of Europe was 
dipping below a tenth of the total inflow. 

(And this tenth, incidentally, no longer means "white." European 
immigration now includes a fraction of immigrants into Europe 
from Asia, the Caribbean and Africa who have decided to move on.) 

Equally visible on the chart, and in dramatic contrast: surging 
Hispanic immigration. Throughout the 1980s, it was generally a 
third or more of total legal immigration. In 1991, the peak year of 
the IRCA amnesty for illegal immigrants, it surged to nearly 65 per- 
cent. If you count the post-IRCA illegal immigration, which is 
overwhelmingly Hispanic, the Hispanic inflow is probably never 
below half of the current immigration to the United States, which is 
of course at record levels. 

And, also dramatically clear on the chart: the 1965 Act's reinven- 
tion of Asian immigration. Virtually halted by restrictions imposed 
in the nineteenth century, this had already begun to rise after these 
restrictions were lifted during World War II. By the 1980s, it was 
exploding. In some years, Asian immigrants outnumbered Hispanic 
(legal) immigrants — a considerable feat. 

Finally, the 1965 Act can be seen to have invented one quite new 
type of immigration: a black inflow, both from Africa itself and 
from the Caribbean. 

In the decades after the end of the slave trade in 1808, practically 


no Africans volunteered to come to the United States. But after the 
1965 Immigration Act, a significant and rising African inflow 
began. By the 1980s, African legal immigration is a noticeable 2 to 3 
percent of the total inflow — see Chart 11. Thus in 1991, there were 
more legal immigrants from Nigeria (2,794) than from Italy (2,336). 
IRCA amnesties brought the Nigerian total up to 7,912 while 
barely budging the Italian total: to 2,619. 

But up to half of these "African" immigrants seem to be whites. 
The U.S. government's contradictory hang-ups about race make 
more precise information unobtainable. 

Non-Spanish Caribbean immigration, by contrast, apart from 
some Asians, is almost entirely black. Small waves, chiefly from the 
British West Indies, arrived at various points in this century, mostly 
before the 1921-24 restrictions. Then came the 1965 Immigration 
Act. Caribbean immigration shot up. By the 1980s it was reaching 
astonishing proportions, given the very small size of the parent 
populations. It regularly matched, and in some years actually ex- 
ceeded, immigration from all of Europe. 

In 1988, for example, the Caribbean (population about 13 mil- 
lion) provided over 12 percent (78,000) of that year's 650,000 legal 
immigrants to the United States. Europe (population 680 million) 
provided just 10 percent (65,000). 

In 1991, there were nearly three times the legal immigrants from 
Jamaica alone (18,025) than from the newly reunited Germany 
(6,272). Again, IRCA amnesties brought the Jamaican total up to 
23,828 but barely budged the German total: to 6,509. 


So what impact will all of this have on America? In one word: pro- 
found. As reported and projected by the Bureau of the Census, it 
can be seen on Chart 12 (page 63). 

I call this "The Pincer Chart." For obvious reasons. 

The Pincer Chart's powerful message: 

• The U.S. government officially projects an ethnic revolution in 
America. Specifically, it expects that American whites will be on the 
point (53 percent) of becoming a minority by 2050. 

Chart 12 




ir Other 

^ 1.1% 



- Non-Spanish 
















My little son Alexander will be fifty-nine. 

I won't be here, of course. And (I'm sorry to say) neither will 
most of you reading of this page. Still, we probably stand a chance 
of making it to 2020. In that year, the Census Bureau projects that 
just less than 64 percent of Americans will be white. And among 
children under fifteen, whites will be on the point of becoming a 

(The Bureau of the Census is apparently afraid to estimate the 
fateful day when American whites actually cease to be a majority. 
Leon Bouvier thinks it will have occurred by 2060. Alexander will 
be sixty-nine.) 

Let's pause now for a word from the Senate sponsor of the 1965 
immigration bill, Philip Hart (D.-M ichigan), speaking in that year 
to denounce critics of his legislation: 

[T]he notion was created that 190 million [the population of the 
American nation of 1965] is going to be swallowed up. None of us 
would want that, the bill does not seek to do it and the bill would not 
do it 2 

Ah yes. And, lest we forget, the president of the United States, 
Lyndon B. Johnson, signing the bill into law in a ceremony at the 
foot of the Statue of Liberty on October 3, 1965: 

This is not a revolutionary bill. It does not affect the lives of millions. 
It will not reshape the structure of our daily lives or add importantly 
to our wealth and power. 3 

(He was right about the wealth and power at least. See Chapters 7 
and 8!) 

A white minority is not the only aspect of the ethnic revolution 
visible in the Pincer Chart. The chart also shows that, just recently, 
the United States suddenly ceased to be what it had been through- 
out its history: a biracial society. 

Blacks are now outnumbered by the other minorities in total for the 
first time ever — the 1990 census reported ... to almost total media 
silence. The Census Bureau now projects that blacks mil be dis- 
placed by Hispanicsas the largest single minority sometime in the sec- 
ond decade of the next century. 


Black political leaders, such as the Reverend Jesse Jackson, seem 
to think that all minorities are allies and potential recruits to the 
"Rainbow Coalition." But, as usual with immigration, ordinary 
blacks take a much dimmer view. Enormous majorities of blacks 
tell pollsters that immigration is a problem and that Border Patrol 
funding should be increased. 4 They quite reasonably worry that the 
new minorities are rivals out-competing them and muscling in on 
programs, such as affirmative action, that were originally designed 
to help blacks alone. 

Either view may be right. Or, possibly, both. 

But blacks' loss of majority-minority status will be critical. 
Throughout their history, Americans have worried about the long- 
established, complex and difficult relationship between whites and 
blacks. It has been the focus of enormous national concern. But 
now, suddenly, there are new minorities, each with their own griev- 
ances and attitudes — quite possibly including a lack of guilt about, 
and even hostility toward, blacks. 

Political life is much more demanding. Americans have so much 
more to worry about. 

And that means that the black-white relationship is inevitably 
going to lose its exclusive claim on national attention. 


If you mention this impending ethnic revolution to some Ameri- 
cans, you can get really hostile reactions. Quite common are: 

• "/ don't believe it. " Well, go argue with the Bureau of the Census. 

Of course, it is true that the Census Bureau has had to make some 
fairly daring assumptions in developing its projections. Indeed, fol- 
lowing standard operating procedure for demographers, the Bu- 
reau has issued a "Lowest Series" of projections using lower 
assumptions. In that scenario, American whites will be 57 percent 
of the population in 2050. Big deal. And the Bureau also has a 
"Highest Series," using higher assumptions. That has American 
whites at 51 percent in 2050. The Bureau thinks the "Middle Series" 


projections used in the Pincer Chart are the most likely. In the re- 
cent past, the Bureau has proved too cautious. 

• "/ think that really oversimplifies things. " Maybe. Maybe not. 
And, after all, the Pincer Chart is extraordinarily dramatic — it 
could oversimplify a great deal and still leave a pretty shocking 
underlying reality. 

But see my effort at good liberal self-doubt in Chapter 15, below. 

• "/ think it's all happened before. Look at us and the Indians!" Many 
Americans have only a hazy notion even of immigration mythol- 
ogy. They often assume that America's historic immigration has 
been larger, more diverse and, above all, much less interspersed 
with pauses for digestion than it actually was. And, surprisingly 
often, they start telling you about the Indians. 

They're wrong, of course. The whites tended to try acquiring land 
by treaty with the Indian tribes, rather than just infiltrating. Re- 
member Manhattan Island, bought by the Dutch for sixty guilders 
(twenty-four dollars) in 1626 — a sum that, if the Manhattan tribe 
had invested it at a 7 percent interest rate, would have by now com- 
pounded to over $1.5 trillion, over a quarter of total American 

But suppose these Americans were right about the Indians. Well, 
go ahead— just look at what happened to them. 

• "So what? Why do you care so much about race?" Ah yes. Ahem. 
The most common, and the most dangerous, reaction. You have 
to be careful with this one. 

I've already given one reason. Because of affirmative action 
quotas, it absolutely matters to me as the father of a white male how 
large the "protected classes" are going to be. And that is basically 
determined by immigration. But there are other reasons. See Chap- 
ter 6, below. 

Now let's examine the Census Bureau's projections, as expressed 
in the Pincer Chart, more closely. 

To get a sense of perspective, we have to go back to the begin- 
ning. And in the beginning, the American nation was white. 


That sounds shocking because blacks were almost a fifth (19.3 
percent) of the total population within the borders of the original 
Thirteen Colonies. But almost all these blacks were slaves. They 
had no say in public affairs. They were excluded from what I have 
called the political nation — aka "the racial hegemony of white 
Americans" . . . aka "America." And the first federal naturalization 
law in 1790 was absolutely explicit about this: applicants for citizen- 
ship had to be "free white persons." 

After 1790, both black and white racial groups grew rapidly 
through natural increase. But the whites were also reinforced by im- 
migration. By the early twentieth century, the white proportion of 
the U.S. population had reached almost nine tenths of the total. 
And it stayed that way for nearly fifty years. The 1940 Census re- 
ported the record: 89.8 percent of America was white. The 1950 
Census found almost exactly the same: 89.5 percent. 

The blacks were now beginning to be integrated into the political 
nation. But now they were a rather smaller factor. Fundamentally, 
America remained a white society, which was slowly, painfully, try- 
ing to come to terms with a black minority. 

This stability was shattered by the 1965 Immigration Act. And 
the gradual trend of the previous century was abruptly reversed. In- 
deed, much more than reversed. 

In the Census year of 1960, the U.S. population was 88.6 percent 
white. In 1990, it was only 75.6 percent white. Thus in 1960, 170 
years after the first Census, the white proportion of the population 
had risen 8 percentage points. Now, in just thirty years, it had fallen 
13 percentage points. And it was still falling — fast. 

(Actually, the American official hang-up about race questions is 
making the "white" category increasingly problematic. Thus the 
proportion of "European Americans" in 1990 was arguably already 
a couple of percentage points lower than the Census figure because 
the Census Bureau counts all Middle Easterners and North Afri- 
cans as "white." On the other hand, some in the "Hispanic" cate- 
gory are clearly of European stock — for example most, but not all, 
of the Cubans. In 1990, just less than half of all Hispanics told the 
trusting Census Bureau that they were white. Since four fifths origi- 
nate in Mexico or Central America, where the populations are over- 
whelmingly mestizo, this seems exaggerated.) 


The upper arm of the pincer in Chart 12 is partly made up of 
blacks. The black population of the United States is growing faster 
than the white population partly because its birthrate is higher. But 
not that much higher. Over the age of twenty-four or twenty-five, 
the birthrate for blacks and for whites is the same. Blacks with 
higher levels of education actually have fewer children than compa- 
rable whites. 

In addition, however, for the first time since the slave trade 
ended, the black population is now being noticeably reinforced by 
immigration. One estimate is that about 5 percent of the black pop- 
ulation in 1990 was contributed by immigrants and their American- 
born offspring since 1970. (For comparison, immigration since 
1970 contributed only about 2.1 percent of the white population.) 5 

Another part of the pincer's upper arm is Asian. And this is al- 
most entirely caused by recent immigration. One estimate: almost 
70 percent of the Asian population in 1990 was contributed by im- 
migrants since 1970 and their American-born offspring. 6 

The lower arm of the pincer is Hispanic. And again, this is largely 
the creation of immigration. One estimate: about 43 percent of the 
1990 Hispanic population was contributed by immigrants since 
1970 and their American-born children. 7 

White Americans, alone of all U.S. racial groups, are not ex- 
pected to expand much. Their natural increase is below replace- 
ment. Their reinforcement by immigration is paltry. The Census 
Bureau expects the white population to stabilize at 210 million in 
about 2030. 


White Americans may be stabilizing their numbers, but not their 
neighborhoods. Nor is anyone else. 

The 1990 Census made it clear that the pincer's tightening grip is 
already beginning to pinch. And Americans are flinching — they are 
polarizing geographically. "We are now seeing white flight from 
whole states and regions," says William H. Frey, a demographer 
and research scientist at the University of Michigan's Population 
Studies Center. He calls it "the flight from diversity." 


The most dramatic case: California — which is being abandoned 
by lower-income whites in particular, exactly the group that would 
appear to be most vulnerable to competition from unskilled immi- 
grants. Much of this white flight is flocking to the intermountain 
West, which seems likely to emerge as part of America's white 

Less noticed, minorities are polarizing too. Asians move to Cali- 
fornia's Bay Area — they now make up 29.1 percent of San Fran- 
cisco County — and to the Los Angeles megalopolis, even if they 
originally settled in other parts of the United States. Blacks are con- 
centrating in big cities, like Washington, Atlanta and Dallas, where 
strong black middle classes have established themselves, often re- 
versing the historic black migration from the South to the North 
and West. Hispanics occupy a great arc from California's Central 
Valley to Texas. All races are moving to Florida — but within that 
huge state, they settle quite different areas: Hispanics in the south- 
east; whites in the southwest and north; blacks in the urban areas. 

Complicating this pattern, highly-educated whites continue to 
migrate into rapidly changing areas like Southern California. Here, 
ominously, a dual economy seems to be emerging, with a white and 
Asian upper class and a black and brown proletariat. 8 It may be 
convenient in the short run. But in the long run, it may well prove a 
sociological San Andreas Fault. 

This is an astonishing contrast to the United States at the time of 
the Civil War. Then, most Northerners simply never saw a black. 
Naturally, they could not understand the fierce politics of the few 
states where blacks were present in large numbers — let alone an ex- 
treme example like South Carolina, where blacks were actually in the 
majority, albeit slaves. (Other minorities, of course, did not exist.) 

Even when the American population was more homogeneous, 
Americans had difficulty understanding one another. "Sectional- 
ism" has always been a factor in politics, with for example the Mid- 
west and the Eastern Seaboard disagreeing about isolationism in 
the 1930s. 

But it's going to get harder. The experience of an Anglo-Cuban 
society like Greater Miami is going to have little in common with an 
Anglo-black society like Atlanta or even with an Anglo-Mexican 
society like San Antonio. These will be communities as different 


America is polarizing—because of immigrant clustering and assortative 
migration of the native-born. If trends continue, areas with above-average 
minority populations will become much more so. Note that Asians are also above 
their national average (2.9%) in much of California, the New York area and 
elsewhere. Blacks in northern cities are often too concentrated to show well here. 
Whites overwhelmingly dominate the heartland — the "Wobegon Nation"? 
(Apologies to Garrison Keillor.) 

U.S. IN 1900 

Blacks sole minority 
before migration to 
cities of North and West 




White 95% + 

White 75%+* 
■■ Black 12.1%+ 

Hispanic 9%+ 
Uilllli Hispanic/Black 

■■ Black Above 50% 
AH Hispanic Above 50%> 
LT. J Asian Above 10%o 




P m 

m \m 

*Wbites above national average, 
Blacks, Hispanics below tbeir national averages 

75% OF ALL 

^P Whites leave Bay Area and 
Southern California, 
heading north and east. 

Q Blacks leave California, 
especially for South. 

^J U.S. -resident Asians 
move to California from 
rest of country. 

^} Whites leave Texas. 

^y Blacks leave Rust Belt, 
especially for South. 

^J Whites leave 
New York City. 


from one another as any in the civilized world. They will verge on 
being separate nations. 

And the existence of these different communities will raise the 
classic problem of federalism: why should any one of them submit 
in a larger political unit to the majority when it shares nothing with 
that majority? Particularly if the community is being visibly taxed 
for others' benefit. 

All large political units will have difficulty containing these con- 
tradictions. This will begin locally (Staten Island trying to leave 
New York City), proceed to the state level (the northern counties 
trying to leave California) . . . and eventually could appear nation- 
ally (the Pacific Northwest going off with an independent British 
Columbia and Alberta?). 

The demographer and economist B. Meredith Burke reports ask- 
ing an official in the State Department's Bureau of Refugee Affairs 
what size of population he considered too much for California. 

"Oh, 100 million or so," he replied airily. "Look," he instructed me, 
"eventually it will get unpleasant enough so that everyone will move 
out and the situation will resolve itself. That's the free market solu- 
tion." 9 

Maybe this is, a free market solution. But it's not a free market 
problem — any more than it would be if the government decided to 
stop enforcing the law . . . or allow an invasion. 


In 1953, there were riots in East Berlin against the Soviet-imposed 
Communist regime. These riots were extremely embarrassing to the 
East German Communists. They claimed their dictatorship was 
justified in the name of the working class. Now that same working 
class was taking to the barricades, in classic revolutionary style, to 
oppose them. 

According to left-wing playwright Bertolt Brecht, then recently 
returned to Berlin, the secretary of the Authors Union actually had 
leaflets distributed that said the people had forfeited the govern- 


ment's confidence and could win it back only by working harder. 
This struck even Brecht as a little much. Hence the bitterness of 
his famous joke in the poem cited at the head of this chapter — 
why didn't the government just dissolve the people and elect 
another one? 

For good or ill, the U.S. political elite seems to be taking Brecht's 
suggestion seriously. As we have seen, the United States is now in 
the grip of an ethnic revolution. That grip is strengthening inexora- 
bly because of immigration. That immigration was caused by the 
1965 Immigration Act. And that 1965 Immigration Act was the cre- 
ation of politicians — some of whom are still in office. 

Just as Brecht suggested, the American nation as it had evolved 
by 1965 is being dissolved by public policy — by the U.S. govern- 

In the next chapter, we will see how the pincers of this ethnic rev- 
olution got their grip. 



What all the wise men promised has not happened, and what all the 
damned fools said would happen has come to pass. 


the great liberal aristocrat, Whig party leader and reforming prime 
minister of Britain in the 1830s, commenting on the results of one such 


How did it happen? 
Even now, many Americans still simply do not realize 
what is causing this ethnic revolution that is transforming 
their country. They tend to assume that some kind of natural phe- 
nomenon is at work — that Hispanics, for example, went from 2.6 
percent 1 of the U.S. population in 1950 to 9 percent in 1990 because 
they somehow started sprouting out of the earth like spring corn. 

Americans tend to assume this partly because they are, in 
fact, regularly told that a natural phenomenon is indeed at work. 
The standard American media treatment of demographic and mul- 
ticultural issues simply slides right over the role of immigration. 

Thus Time magazine proclaimed happily in its April 9, 
1990, cover story ("What Will the U.S. Be Like When Whites Are 
No Longer the Majority?") that 


the "browning of America" will alter everything in society, from pol- 
itics and education to industry, values and culture . . . 

and that, of course, "it is irreversibly the America to come" (my 

Buried in eight pages of text was this one weasel phrase: "If cur- 
rent trends in immigration and birthrates persist ..." Even here, the 
reference to birthrates is misleading, because it includes births to 
recent immigrants. Six sevenths of the Hispanic population, and 
five sixths of the Asian population, is due to immigration since 
1900, most of it since 1970. 2 

No natural phenomenon is at work. And the point cannot be em- 
phasized too strongly: 

• The current wave of immigration — and therefore America's shifting 
ethnic balance — is wholly and entirely the result of government pol- 
icy. Specifically, it is the result of the Immigration Act of 1965, and 
the further legislation of 1986 and 1990. 

The three fundamental questions of immigration policy are how 
many get admitted? who? and how is this enforced? All are 
uniquely within the power of American government officials. Even 
if they prefer to let these questions be decided, as often at present, 
by default. 

• Put it this way: American immigration policy may be made by com- 
mission. Or it may be made by omission. But it is still made in Amer- 
ica, by American politicians. 

• In other words: it's their fault. 

It was a change in public policy that opened U.S. scuttles to the 
Third World inflow after 1965. A further change in public policy 
could shut them. Public policy could even — we're talking strictly 
theoretically, of course — reopen the scuttles on the European side 
and start to shift the ethnic balance back. 

Or public policy could go in some quite new direction. It is quite 
common to hear conservatives (who have a romantic streak) say: 
"Asian immigration will be the salvation of America." Maybe. But, 
in that case, why not have more Asians and fewer Hispanics? 



U.S. immigration policy was not transformed in 1965 without de- 
bate. There was a debate. It just bore no relationship to what subse- 
quently happened. 

Staunch defenders of the national-origins quota system, such as 
the American Legion and the American Coalition of Patriotic Soci- 
eties, allowed themselves to be persuaded by advocates of the new 
legislation that it really enacted a sort of worldwide quota. This was 
because the 1965 Act was to include for the first time a "ceiling" of 
120,000 on immigration from the Western Hemisphere — including 
all of Latin America. (The 1921-24 restrictionist legislation had 
placed no specific ceiling on immigrants from the Western Hemi- 
sphere. But as a practical matter the other requirements, usually in- 
cluding a job offer, had held down their numbers.) 

This new worldwide quota, its advocates maintained, would no 
longer be skewed toward northern and western Europe. In the era 
of Civil Rights legislation, that policy was too embarrassingly easy 
to caricature as "racist." But the new policy would still restrict 
overall immigration to around (or slightly above) the then current 
level, which was averaging 250,000 to 300,000 a year. 

A detailed account of Congress's deluded intent and the dramatic 
consequences appears in Lawrence Auster's devastating The Path 
to National Suicide: An Essay on Immigration and Multiculturalism, 3 
perhaps the most remarkable literary product of the Restrictionist 
underground, a work which I think will one day be seen as a politi- 
cal pamphlet to rank with Tom Paine's Common Sense. 

Today, it is astonishing to read in Auster's account the categori- 
cal assurances given by the 1965 Immigration Act's supporters. 
" What the bill will not do," summarized its floor manager, Immigra- 
tion Subcommittee chairman Senator Edward Kennedy (D.- 

First, our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annu- 
ally. Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains 
substantially the same. . . . Secondly, the ethnic mix of this country will 
not be upset. . . . Contrary to the charges in some quarters, [the bill] 
will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or 


area, or the most populated and deprived nations of Africa and Asia. 
... In the final analysis, the ethnic pattern of immigration under the 
proposed measure is not expected to change as sharply as the critics 
seem to think. [Emphases, needless to say, added by me.] 

Kennedy also went on to denounce those "critics" of his bill in 
the terms that all students of the American immigration debate 
have come to know and love: 

The charges I have mentioned are highly emotional, irrational and 
with little foundation in fact. They are out of line with the obligations 
of responsible citizenship. They breed hate of our heritage . . . 

Every one of Senator Kennedy's assurances has proven false. Im- 
migration levels did surge upward. They are now running at around 
a million a year, not counting illegals. Immigrants do come predom- 
inantly from one area — some 85 percent of the 16.7 million legal 
immigrants arriving in the United States between 1968 and 1993 
came from the Third World: 47 percent from Latin America and 
the Caribbean; 34 percent from Asia. (What's more, nearly half of 
all the 1968-93 immigration came from Spanish-speaking coun- 
tries, dramatically contrasting with the First, polyglot Great Wave 
and enough to establish for the first time the possibility of perma- 
nent "bilingual" — more accurately, Spanish-language — enclaves in 
the United States.) Also, immigrants did come disproportionately 
from one country — 20 percent from Mexico. (Indeed, 74 percent of 
the legal immigrants came from just 15 of the 191 sovereign coun- 
tries in the world, and not even the largest of them. See Appendix 2, 
page 285.) And as we have seen, immigration from Africa (about 2 
percent of the post- 1968 total) has reappeared for the first time 
since the abolition of the Slave Trade. 

Finally, and above all, the ethnic pattern of immigration to the 
United States did change sharply. In fact, it could hardly have 
changed more sharply. And the ethnic mix of the country has, of 
course, been upset. 

Emotional, huh? Irrational? Little foundation in fact? 

It would be wrong to blame Edward Kennedy . . . exclusively. 
Others of the bill's major supporters gave even more sweeping 
promises about how it would work. 


Indeed, my own personal favorite fact-founded piece of unemo- 
tional rationality came from the senator from Massachusetts^ 
brother, the senator from New York. Robert Kennedy, who until 
the previous year had been attorney general with the full resources 
of the U.S. government behind him, gave this confident assessment 
of future Asian immigration under the proposed act: 

It would be approximately 5,000, Mr. Chairman, after which immi- 
gration from that source would virtually disappear; 5,000 would 
come in the first year, but we do not expect that there would be any 
great influx after that. 

Total Asian immigration between 1968, when the legislation 
went into effect, and 1993: 5,648,420. 

Tragically, Robert Kennedy himself was to be assassinated by an 
immigrant counted by the INS as "Asian": Sirhan Sirhan, born in 
Jerusalem, who entered the United States from Jordan under a spe- 
cial program for Palestinian refugees in 1956. 4 

Why were the 1965 Act's supporters all so wrong? The kindest 
answer must be staggering technical incompetence. They simply did 
not think through just how the immigration system that they had 
put together would really work. 


Properly speaking, the United States does not have an immigration 
system. It has an immigration shambles. 

ThiSj of course, is an occupational hazard with democratic gov- 
ernment. It's just the sort of thing that makes democracy so enter- 

But the result in the case of American immigration policy is pecu- 
liarly complex, capricious, paradoxical and (yes!) irrational. In my 
experience, everyone exposed to the system loathes it, including 
those overwhelmed INS clerks and even the immigration lawyers 
who directly profit from its complexity. 

Despite some subsequent tinkering, the basic elements of the sys- 
tem remain those of the 1965 Act. 

They are (with my running commentary): 


• An overall ceiling, or worldwide quota, for immigration to the United 
States. In the 1990 Immigration Act, this was set at around 
700,000. (But actually this ceiling, or quota, is illusory — legal immi- 
gration was running around 880,000, not even counting 150,000 new 
asylum applications, IRCA amnesties and so forth, as will be dis- 
cussed below, ) 

• Every country treated equally. All are entitled to contribute a maxi- 
mum number of immigrants (recently 25,620) to the United States. 
(Regardless of size — compare India with Monaco! Regardless of 
historic contribution to the American population — compare Britain, 
Ireland and Germany with Mexico, the Philippines or Dominica! Re- 
gardless of whether the country splits up, like Pakistan and Ban- 
gladesh, which promptly doubled their entitlement — again, putting 
U.S. immigration policy in foreign hands!) 

So this was the 1965 Act's first major change: abolition of the 
principle of preference for northern and western Europeans. 

But remember that there are 191 independent countries in the 
world, up from some 120 in 1965. And 191 into 700,000 goes 
3,664.9 times — far less than the 25,620 to which each country is sup- 
posedly entitled. If one country fills its quota, others can't. 

Immigration, however, is something that builds momentum. Suc- 
cessful immigrants send word home that, hey, the water's fine, come 
on in. And their friends and neighbors do start to come — something 
demographers call an "immigration chain." So the first countries to 
get through the door after the 1965 Act have been able to keep fill- 
ing their quotas. And, by filling the worldwide quota, they have 
been in effect able to shoulder the latecomers aside. 

Which is what has happened to Europe. At first sight, the 1965 
Immigration Act treated all countries equally. But its workings as 
they developed, choked off, as a practical matter, immigration from 
the historic homeland of America. De jure discrimination in favor 
of Europe (some southern and eastern Europeans were always able 
to come here, unlike Asians) had been replaced by de facto discrimi- 
nation against Europe. 

• Within each country quota, the highest priority given to "family 
reunification. " The details get complicated, but U.S. citizens and 
Resident Aliens are variously allowed to import spouses, adult 


children with spouses and children, brothers and sisters with 
spouses and children ... All get preference over immigrants with 
skills but no relatives. (So there's a tendency over time for "family 
reunification" to crowd out skilled would-be immigrants from the 
same country, with the result that skill levels in each country's immi- 
grant flow start to decline. And skilled workers from other countries, 
which might be already getting crowded out from the worldwide 
quota, have even more difficulty getting in to start their own "immi- 
gration chain" at all.) 

So this was the 1965 Act's second major reversal of the American 
policy established since the 1920s: downgrading of skill require- 
ments in favor of "family reunification." 

I put "family reunification" in inverted commas because, after 
all, the immigrant would achieve the truest reunification with all of 
his family if he returned home. Indeed, "family reunification" per- 
mits immigrants, after their arrival, to acquire and import foreign 
spouses, forming new families that never existed to be "disunited" 
in the first place. 

For that matter, immigrant families are little more disunited geo- 
graphically than many American families, with their adult children 
scattered from sea to shining sea . . . and even further. As an immi- 
grant, I am endlessly fascinated by this phenomenon, and make a 
hobby of collecting spectacular examples. But these American fam- 
ilies reunite electronically, and through vacation trips. They don't 
seem to feel the need to live in the same location. 

The effect of the new "family reunification" policy was much 
more radical than appears at first sight. It does specify fairly close 
relatives (although not as close as other immigrant-receiving coun- 
tries require). But after arriving, these close relatives can turn 
around and sponsor their close relatives. A "chain letter" effect be- 
gins, ultimately ramifying far beyond the original immigrant. And 
the close-knit "extended families" typical of the premodern socie- 
ties of the Third World made this development even more certain. 

Of course, if a country's quota has been filled, these family mem- 
bers do have to wait in line for slots to open up. In 1993, family- 
preference applicants made up 95 percent of the 3.4 million 
individuals in line for U.S. immigration visas. Some country queues 


are astonishingly long. Applicants now receiving permission to 
enter the United States have waited in some cases for as long as 
sixteen years. 5 

Obviously, from these countries, no skilled would-be immigrant 
without family connections need apply. 

But even immigrants who do apply with family connections have 
trouble, because of those country queues. Talking about immigra- 
tion on David Newman's KXYT Detroit-area radio show, I once 
had the heart-rending experience of a call from an elderly European 
widow in great distress because she couldn't bring her sister, also 
widowed and her only family in the world, to America to live with 
her. How could this possibly be, when the borders plainly were out 
of control? 

Ever since, I have regretted that I flinched from saying on air 
what I believe immigration lawyers say in private: bring her in as a 
tourist and overstay, no one will do anything. It's the Great American 
Immigration Paradox again — the law is enforced against those who 
obey the law. 

• No limits on immediate family of American citizens. Outside each 
country quota, spouses, parents and minor children of U.S. citi- 
zens (as opposed to resident aliens) are admitted without numerical 
restrictions. And, of course, without any concern for their skills. 
(Thus completely end-running any "worldwide quota. ") 

This provision, in combination with the "family-reunification" 
provision within the quota, has proved devastating to the predic- 
tions of the 1965 Act's supporters. Not only do resident aliens re- 
ceive extensive "family reunification" rights — remember how easy 
it is to get U.S. citizenship. After only five years, a resident alien can 
acquire all the additional rights of the native-born, including im- 
porting spouses, etc. Under its current immigration law, the United 
States is compelled to accept all of them. 

• No limits on "refugees' and "asylees. " Also outside any country 
quotas, refugees and asylum-seekers have been admitted in num- 
bers determined each year in consultation between the president 
and Congress. Recently these numbers have been rising under var- 
ious political pressures. In 1993, 119,482 refugees were approved 


for admission to the United States, and there were 150,386 ap- 
plications for asylum from people already in the country. The 
backlog of asylum applications is mounting quickly: at the end of 
1993, some 333,000 were pending (which also completely end-runs 
any worldwide quota). 6 

The truth is that the "refugee" and "asylee" categories have 
become just a special sort of expedited immigration program. Thus 
more than 80 percent of refugees admitted have relatives already 
here 1 — something that would hardly happen if they were selected at 
random from the dispossessed of the world. 

Virtually all pretense that "refugees" are fleeing war or persecu- 
tion was abandoned in 1989, when Senator Frank Lautenberg 
(D.-New Jersey) succeeded in passing legislation requiring that all 
Jews from the territory of the Soviet Union, plus members of two 
small Christian minorities, Ukrainian Catholics and Evangelical 
Protestants, should be presumed to be "refugees" for the purpose 
of admittance to the United States. 

Remember, this was during glasnost. Moreover, the policy has 
continued after the collapse of Communism. But the Jews at 
least, whether persecuted or not, certainly had a place to go: Is- 
rael. Still, nearly 50,000 "refugees" from the former Soviet Union 
arrived in the United States in 1993, of whom 80 percent are 
thought to be Jewish. In 1994, when the Lautenberg Amendment 
was quietly extended for the third time, for another two years, 
some 55,000 ex-Soviet "refugees" were expected, probably almost 
half the "refugee" total. 8 

(Which is still not quite as good a deal as the Cuban lobby has 
engineered: the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act, which effectively 
guaranteies that any Cuban reaching the United States can obtain 
legal immigrant status within a year.) 

Refugees and asylees are not merely expedited immigrants: they 
are also subsidized immigrants. Unlike ordinary immigrants, they 
are eligible for extensive federal aid as soon as they arrive. 

• Plus. . . Then there's the IRCA amnesty of an estimated 3 million 
illegal immigrants who arrived prior to 1982 (the ultimate end run 
of any worldwide quota). 


• Plus, plus . . . Then there's continued illegal immigration — adding 
up to perhaps another 4 million illegal immigrants settled in the 
country since IRCA's 1982 cutoff. ( Why not bet on another am- 
nesty end run?) 

A final immigration end run, opened in the 1990 Act, illustrates 
how corrupt the debate has become: 

• The "diversity lottery. " An additional 40,000 to 50,000 visas were 
set aside for a group of countries deemed to have been underrepre- 
sented — squeezed out — of the 1965-90 stampede. The visas were 
to be allocated by lottery — / (Thus totally passing up any chance to 
ensure that these immigrants met American needs.) 

By "diversity," of course, the politicians meant the exact oppo- 
site. In fact, they were trying to restore some European immigra- 
tion, above all for relatives of Senator Kennedy's Massachusetts 
constituents. But, of course, they didn't want to admit this. How- 
ever, several African countries are among those eligible for the lot- 
tery. Which has enabled Jerry Tinker, Senator Kennedy's veteran 
immigration aide, to justify the provision as follows: "Now an 
unemployed Nigerian can immigrate to the U.S. for work." 

Sure. But it does help if the unemployed Nigerian is an Irish citi- 
zen. Some 40 percent of the lottery slots were reserved exclusively 
for them. 

I had asked Tinker if Kennedy could reply in writing to questions 
about how he reconciled his stated goals in 1965 with the situation 
today. Tinker had agreed, but now reported that "Senator 
Kennedy has no time for a written response." Still, Tinker was kind 
enough to provide an answer to my curiosity as to whether the sena- 
tor still thought immigration should conform to the demographic 
goals he had so stoutly endorsed in 1965: 

"No. Many things have changed since then." 


"No one could have foreseen the consequences of the 1965 Act," 
Tinker argued. He claimed these consequences occurred because of 
a drop in immigration demand from Europe and an explosion of 
pent-up demand in Asia — largely due, he repeatedly insisted, to an 
unexpected number of Korean GI brides and their relatives. 9 


(Immigration experts laugh out loud when they hear this: even in 
1990, Koreans made up only a tiny fraction — 0.3 percent — of the 
U.S. population. 10 But Tinker's guileless answer is an interesting 
sign of just how unaccustomed the top immigration enthusiasts are 
to any critical questioning.) 


In fact, of course, people did foresee the consequences of the 1965 
Immigration Act. And they pointed them out at the time — to Sena- 
tor Kennedy, among others. 

For example, the Senate's hearings on the 1965 legislation pro- 
duced one unsung heroine: Myra C. Hacker of Upper Montclair, 
New Jersey, who testified as an opposition witness with what must 
now be seen as remarkable prescience. She represented the New Jer- 
sey Coalition, part of the American Coalition of Patriotic Societies 
that had been formed by John B. Trevor and others in support of 
restrictive legislation in the 1920s. 

Mrs. Hacker attacked the bill's supporters for misleadingly 
focusing only on the slight increase in the overall quota. The truth, 
she said, was that the bill was certain to increase immigration sub- 
stantially. This was because unused northern and western Euro- 
pean quota slots were to be given to countries who would use them. 
She specifically drew attention to the nonquota provisions that 
would enable any worldwide quota to be end run. And she forecast 
that the bill would result in annual immigration of "a half million 
or more." 

This number was half as much again as any supporter would 
admit to. But, as it turned out, she was wildly restrained. 

"At the very least, " Mrs. Hacker said, "the hidden mathematics of 
the bill should be made clear. " n 


Jerry Tinker was probably just as wrong to claim that Europeans 
did not — and, he added, do not — want any longer to emigrate. This 


is a common allegation, and naturally there are fluctuations. But in 
fact the 1965 Immigration Act cut back a continuing flow from 

The number of British immigrants, for example, had been running 
at 20,000 to 30,000 a year. It was immediately reduced by more than 
half and has never recovered. In 1991, it was about 13,000. (The 
damage done to the number of Canadian immigrants was even more 
dramatic. It had been running close to 40,000 a year; it fell to below a 
quarter of that number. In 1991 , it was still only just over 10,000.) 

The British reaction is instructive. Always exceptionally inclined 
to emigrate, they did not stop when their access to the United States 
was curtailed. They continued to leave Britain at a rate of 100,000 
to 200,000 a year. What seems to have happened is that they, along 
with other Europeans, were simply diverted elsewhere — for exam- 
ple, between 1965 and 1991, some 540,000 British emigrated to 
Canada; a substantially larger number emigrated to Australia. All 
told, there are now estimated to be some 3 million British citizens 
living overseas. 

Which illustrates an observation by University of California at 
San Diego economist George J. Borjas, in his 1990 study of immi- 
gration, Friends or Strangers: The Impact of Immigrants on the U.S. 
Economy, which in many ways is the recommended antidote to 
Julian Simon's Economic Consequences of Immigration. Borjas, 
himself a Cuban immigrant, made this point: 

• U.S. immigration policy does not exist in a vacuum. There is a 
worldwide market for immigrants — especially skilled immigrants. 12 

For example, in recent years Canada and Australia together have 
been taking a total of about 400,000 a year— almost half as many as 
the United States. (Australia has recently cut back sharply; Canada 
is struggling to prevent its family-reunification flow from crowding 
out its preference for skilled immigrants.) 

With its 1965 reform, the United States in effect reduced its com- 
petitive "offer" to European emigrants. Indeed, in many cases, it 
ceased to make an offer at all. So they went elsewhere. And they 
took their skills — which, as we shall see in Chapter 7, tend to be 
higher than those of Third World immigrants — with them. 


"Borjas concludes we're losing the competitive race for skilled im- 
migrants, " Robert B. Reich, then with Harvard's John F. Kennedy 
School of Government and now President Clinton's Secretary of 
Labor, wrote in reviewing Borjas's book in Washington Monthly 
magazine. 13 

Moreover, all dogmatic assertions about future immigration pat- 
terns are dangerous. Witness the sudden influx of more than 
100,000 illegal Irish immigrants in the late 1980s. This produced the 
political pressure which necessitated Kennedy's (and Tinker's) un- 
principled lottery deal in the 1990 legislation. 

In addition, there was the wholly unexpected unfreezing of a sea 
of potential immigrants in Eastern Europe in the early 1990s, as the 
long Communist winter came to an end. 

Not that those Eastern Europeans can get into the United States 
even if they want to. 

And this is a profound tragedy. For there is no more important 
foreign policy problem facing the United States than the stabiliza- 
tion of the lands comprising the former Soviet bloc, to ensure that 
no further dragons arise there to trouble the final years of this most 
troubled of centuries. And there could be no surer way of binding 
that region into the civilized world than allowing, for a period at 
least, the immigration to the United States of hundreds of thou- 
sands of its tormented (although, incidentally, highly skilled) popu- 

They would be rescued from Eastern Europe's economic col- 
lapse. They would remit monies to their families back home, a form 
of foreign aid far more efficiently targeted than any government-to- 
government grant. They would provide some personal inoculation 
against the anti-American demagoguery into which the politics of 
these newly liberated societies might easily degenerate. And many 
of them would eventually return home — as large proportions of im- 
migrant waves always do — with capital, skills and the vital experi- 
ence of functioning in a free, capitalist society. 

But today the United States simply does not have the flexibility to 
accept large numbers of Eastern Europeans. Such a change in pol- 
icy would require legislation, which would never pass a Congress 
where immigration is entirely held hostage by ethnic and other lob- 
bies. (After the passage of the 1990 Act, a particularly sordid spec- 


tacle, INS officials made a trivia game of marking sections of the 
legislation that had been designed for special interests. Result — 
"Top to bottom. Almost every single section," according to one 
INSer quoted in an eye-opening account by Knight Ridder News- 
papers' Pete Carey and Steve Johnson. 14 ) 

And anyway, the result of the post-1965 immigration binge is 
that ordinary Americans are heartily sick of immigration and want 
no more. 

One of the great strengths of the United States has been care- 
lessly, culpably, dissipated. 

The moral of this story is one to which we will return time and 

• If the United States had a rational immigration policy, it could af- 
ford to make exceptions. Because it has an irrational immigration 
policy, it is forced into inflexibility. 


On close examination, many immigration enthusiasts turn out to be 
perfectly well aware that current policy is deeply flawed. 

One interesting case is the prominent pundit Ben J. Wattenberg, 
a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Pol- 
icy Research in Washington, D.C., and coauthor of the bestseller 
The Real Majority. Many people will know him for his nationally 
syndicated newspaper column and his PBS television series. 

Wattenberg has the knack of thinking in resounding phrases. 
(Which is not always very helpful when you're dealing with a com- 
plex subject like immigration, as a matter of fact. But, being a jour- 
nalist, I like it anyway.) Thus he has popularized the idea that the 
United States, drawing its population from every corner of the 
globe, can become what he calls "the first Universal Nation." 

A former speechwriter for President Lyndon B. Johnson, Wat- 
tenberg is one of those lifelong moderate Democrats who became 
discontented with the liberal domination of their party in the 1970s 
and drifted into alliance with the Republicans. In the Reagan years 
this group began to be described as "neoconservatives." And Wat- 


tenberg's romantic vision of America's future has entranced quite a 
few of his newfound conservative friends. 

But no one, liberal or conservative, seems to have noticed that in 
Wattenberg's book The First Universal Nation, he actually ad- 
vocated an approach he christened "designer immigration." He 
wanted a policy radically reoriented toward skills rather than fam- 
ily reunification. He also wanted to keep out illegals more effec- 
tively and to end what he described as the "odd situation" whereby 
Europeans are effectively discriminated against. 

Of course, he hastened to add, this would not cut back on Third 
World immigrants as such. Instead, the overall numbers of immi- 
grants would be increased. 15 

(Partly this is because Wattenberg worries about the U.S. popu- 
lation. He thinks that it absolutely must keep growing if America is 
to remain the greatest world power. He's even written an evangeli- 
cal book about it, called, resoundingly, The Birth Dearth. But I 
don't agree. I think quality is more important than quantity — a sta- 
ble population would be just fine, so long as its skills keep improv- 

I contacted Wattenberg while writing my National Review cover 
story. He sent word he thought that the 1990 Act, which did in- 
crease immigration and add more skills slots but did nothing about 
the family-reunification flaw, was merely "a good solid half-step 
forward." And he added that he "still advocates designer immigra- 

After my article was published, Wattenberg was nice enough to 
contribute to a symposium of responses that appeared in the Na- 
tional Review of February 1, 1993. And he made a further proposal 
that, in the prevailing political climate, was distinctly courageous. 

The United States should reassert control over the immigration 
influx, Wattenberg told National Review's readers, and allow in 
some more Europeans. Via more "designer immigration" — 300,000 
"Liberty Visas" for post-Communist Eastern Europe. In addition, 
however, Wattenberg quietly slipped in another general "designer 
immigration" requirement. On top of skills and education, he 
wrote, "We would do well to add English-language proficiency. " 

Wow! That would make a big difference (seriously). The Census 
Bureau reports that a remarkable 47 percent of the U.S. foreign- 


born population do not speak English "very well" or "at all." So 
emphasizing English proficiency would inevitably cut down immi- 
gration a lot. Particularly of Hispanics. Some 71 percent of foreign- 
born Mexicans report not speaking English "very well." Essentially 
all of them — 96 percent — speak Spanish at home. 16 In addition, an 
English-language requirement would probably increase immigra- 
tion from the developed countries of Europe (and possibly from 
former British colonies in Asia and Africa). 


Part of the cultural diversity I bring to the United States from Brit- 
ain is a certain (ahem) contempt for American debating technique. I 
can't help it. It's inbred. 

American competitive debaters are given their topics in advance 
and earnestly learn all the arguments by heart. But British competi- 
tive debaters are told their topics, and which side they must take, 
only at the last moment. They are expected to succeed by quickness 
of wit and whatever facts they can dredge (or make) up. 

As a result, British debaters attack each other's arguments — and 
each other — directly, in part because they have nothing much else 
to do. American debaters, however, tend to blunder up and down 
the stage, ignoring opposing arguments, brandishing their carefully 
crafted wooden swords at the audience like bad actors in quite dif- 
ferent plays. 

Needless to say, presidential debates are particularly painful for 
me. In 1980, 1 winced when Ronald Reagan flourished this pre-cut 
cardboard cutlass at the audience to remind them of the foreign and 
domestic record of President Jimmy Carter: 

Are you better off than you were four years ago? Is it easier for you to 
go and buy things in the stores than it was four years ago? Is there 
more or less unemployment in the country than there was four years 
ago? Is America as respected throughout the world as it was? Do you 
think that our security is as safe, that we're as strong as we were four 
years ago? . . . If you don't think that this course that we've been on 
for the last four years is what you would like to see us follow for the 
next four, then I could suggest another choice that you have. 17 


But it worked. Or something worked. (I find American methods 
generally do. My objections are purely to style, not substance.) 

It helps to think about the 1965 Immigration Act and the result- 
ing system in this context. Consider these two points: 

• What if the 1965 Immigration Act had done what its supporters 
said it would do? 

Immigration would have been held to (say) 350,000 a year. The 
U.S. population in 1990 would have been 239 million instead of 250 
million. And according to the 1965 bill's advocates, the U.S. ethnic 
balance would not have been altered at all. That means the Ameri- 
can population would still be where it was in 1960: almost 89 per- 
cent white (including most Hispanics, whom the 1960 Census did 
not break out separately but probably comprised less than 3 percent 
in total); almost 1 1 percent black; less than 1 percent Asian. 

But then, you have to wonder if the 1965 bill's advocates could 

• What if there had been no immigration at all after 1970? 

According to the Urban Institute's Jeffrey Passel and Barry Ed- 
monston, the American population in 1990 would have been an es- 
timated 230 million — about 20 million lower than it actually was. 
Blacks and Hispanics, with birthrates higher than whites although 
converging, would have been 12 percent and 5 percent, respectively; 
Asians would have been 1 percent. And non-Hispanic whites would 
have been about 82 percent. 18 (The Urban Institute's estimate of 
non-Hispanic whites tends to be lower than that of the U.S. Census 
figure for various technical reasons.) 

In the end, Americans have to ask themselves very specific ques- 
tions about the immigration flood unleashed upon their country by 
the politicians in 1965: 

• Has the mass immigration triggered by the 1965 reform made me 
and my family better off? Has it made it easier or more difficult for us 
to work, to educate our children, to live our lives? Has it resulted in 
more or less congestion? pollution? racial tension? crime? Do I feel it 
has made America respected for its generosity — or despised for its 


gullibility? Are we stronger because immigration brought diversity? 
Or weaker because it brought divisiveness? Has the post-1965 immi- 
gration enabled us to achieve more — or nothing that we could not 
have managed on our own? What if the 1965 Act had worked as 
promised and there were fewer immigrants? Or if immigration had 
been stopped completely in 1965? 

Would America be a happier or unhappier place than it is today? 




The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against 
preventable evils. 

In seeking to do so, it encounters obstacles which are deeply 
rooted in human nature. One is that by the very order of things 
such evils are not demonstrable until they have occurred: at 
each stage in their outset there is room for doubt and for dis- 
pute whether they be real or imaginary. By the same token, 
they attract little attention in comparison with current trou- 
bles, which are both indisputable and pressing: whence the be- 
setting temptation of all politics to concern itself with the 
immediate present at the expense of the future. 

Above all, people are disposed to mistake predicting trou- 
bles for causing troubles and even for desiring troubles: "if 
only, " they love to think, "if only people wouldn't talk about it, 
it probably wouldn't happen. " Perhaps this habit goes back to 
the primitive belief that the word and the thing, the name and 
the object, are identical. 

At all events, the discussion of future grave but, with effort 
now, avoidable evils is probably the most unpopular and at 
the same time the most necessary occupation for the politi- 

Those who knowingly shirk it, deserve, and not infrequently 
receive, the curses of those who come after. 


speech on immigration, Birmingham, England, April 20, 1968 

tt j- hy? Why did it happen? Why did the 1965 Act's sup- 

I /I / porters get it so wrong? 

V V And why didn't you know about this? 
One obvious reason: 

• Because the 1965 Immigration Act was passed in such a deceptive 
way. There was little public interest in the issue at the time. If any- 
thing, the legislation just seemed like a harmless tribute to Presi- 

93 why Drorr happen? 

dent John F. Kennedy, who had published a book advocating im- 
migration reform. The Act's supporters were able to evade all seri- 
ous challenge to their claims. As a result, there was no general 
recognition of the policy's profound effect as it subsequently oc- 

Like a Chinese executioner's sword, the 1965 Immigration Act 
flashed through the American body politic so fast that nothing 
seemed to have been altered — until, after a pause, the country's 
head fell off. 

Another, less obvious but intensely human reason that the immi- 
gration imbroglio has been allowed to fester so far: 

• Because of sheer intellectual inertia. Very few people can absorb 
new realities after the age of twenty-one. And two generations of 
American political leaders — from those who passed the 1965 legis- 
lation to those in their fifties today — spent their formative years in 
one of the greatest lulls in the history of American immigration, 
the four decades between the 1920s and the 1960s. 

It's worth remembering the amazing numbers (see Chart 1, pages 
30-31). In 1933 only 23,068 immigrants entered the United States, 
the lowest figure for 102 years. Overall, there was probably a net 
loss. In the whole of the 1930s, only about 500,000 legal immigrants 
entered the country. (At that time, there was virtually no illegal 
immigration.) And only about a million entered in the 1940s — 
including World War II refugees. 

By contrast, of course, the United States is currently accepting 
about 1 million immigrants, counting refugees and asylees, every 
year. And in the single year of 1990 alone, it accepted 1.8 million. 

Naturally, we should be able to think things through in prospect. 
And certainly we should be able to recognize them in retrospect. 
But actually, we find it very difficult. 

Which is why generals always refight the last war. And why 
politicians go on campaigning for the last cause (which in the case 
of an important section of today's U.S. political elite happens to be 
the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s — something else that seri- 
ously inhibits the developing immigration debate; see pages 102- 


The implication of this time lag in political perception is very 
grave. It means that, before the issues raised by immigration can be 
confronted, an entirely new generation of politicians may have to 
come to power — which could easily be too late. 


But, even so, why are we not supposed to notice the impact of immi- 
gration now! 

Because it's unmistakable: the American political elite — liberal, 
moderate and conservative — shows every sign of not wanting the 
subject raised at all. 

The immigration scuttles were opened, apparently by accident, in 
1965. Since then, opinion polls have consistently shown that most 
Americans want them shut again. Recently, they have been wanting 
them shut even more. 

In 1993, a Newsweek poll showed that fully 60 percent of Ameri- 
cans thought immigration levels were bad for the country. A Los 
Angeles Times poll showed that 86 percent of Californians thought 
illegal immigration into their state was a "major" or "moderate" 
problem; 47 percent of them thought the same about legal immigra- 
tion. An Orlando Sentinel call-in poll showed 95 percent of respon- 
dents endorsing a ban on all immigration for a few years. And The 
New York Times reported an Empire State Survey that showed a 
solid majority (51 percent) of immigrants themselves thought immi- 
gration was bad for the city. Their view was shared by 66 percent of 
native-born New Yorkers. 1 

Nothing surprising about those immigrant attitudes, inciden- 
tally. Immigrants, as Samuel Johnson said about the Irish, are a fair 
people: they rarely speak well of one another. (Look at me!) Immi- 
grants know too much to share the immigration enthusiasts' ro- 

Similarly, in 1992 the Latino National Political Survey found 
that the proportion of Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans 
"agreeing or strongly agreeing" that "there are too many immi- 
grants" was actually higher (75 percent and 79 percent) than the 
proportion of non-Hispanic whites (74 percent). Still more striking, 

95 why did rr HAPPEN? 

this feeling was even more intense among Hispanies who were not 
U.S. citizens, i.e., were immigrants themselves. For example, 
among non-citizen Mexicans the proposition that there were too 
many immigrants was approved by an astounding 84 percent to 16 
percent. 2 

• In nine surveys taken since 1955, no more than 13 percent of Ameri- 
cans have ever said they wanted immigration increased; recently, the 
proportion has been as low as 4 percent 3 

But immigration was increased anyway. There could not be a 
sharper contrast between what America wanted and what it got. 

However, the political elite's reaction has been unexpectedly per- 
verse. It stands around idly, alternately ignoring the situation, de- 
nouncing anyone uncouth enough to mention it, or, most 
frequently, indulging in romantic retroactive rationalizations. 
("The more the merrierr "Diversity is strength!" ) 

One example: as a New Yorker (by adoption — but some 28 per- 
cent of New York City's population is now foreign-born), I natu- 
rally think The New York Times is the voice of God. 

At the end of 1992, God summarized the developing immigration 
debate, including my own contribution, quite accurately: 


And Deborah Sontag's story did note, in passing, that critics of 
immigration policy now included some environmentalists, civil 
rights advocates, Democratic legislators, and a former Democratic 
presidential candidate, Eugene McCarthy. 

But the subhead was still "Rudeness Goes Public": 

Across the country, and particularly in California, Americans have 
felt freer to voice a rude inhospitality that at other times they might 
have considered racist or at least xenophobic. . . . Those who call for 
a freeze on immigration, however, saw the sour mood as a harbinger 
of a new conservatism ahead. 4 

Let's disregard pitiful conservative whimpering about Sontag's 
casual smearing of "conservatism" with racism, xenophobia, sour- 


ness, etc. In today's America, conservatives are a minority it's OK 
to oppress. 

More important, however: note that nowhere in this article was 
there any mention of 

1. the record levels of legal immigration in 1991-92 

2. the record levels of illegal immigration 

3. the record levels of asylum applications . . . even though it was at 
New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport that the scandal 
of fraudulent asylum applicants' overwhelming immigration controls 
had just broken 

Immigration apparently just didn't exist as a factual issue in late 
1992, in the view of The New York Times's editors. And because it 
did not exist as a fact, any public concern about immigration must 
naturally be irrational. It had to be explained, and of course dis- 
paraged, in the vulgar psychoanalytic terms ("anxiety attacks . . . 
frustration 1 *) that Sontag employed. 

And the crowning piece of evidence that concern about immigra- 
tion amounted to no more than an expression of "racist discom- 
fort" was . . . me. Because I had noted in my National Review cover 
story that INS waiting rooms were "an underworld that is almost 
entirely colored." 

I had. They are. I do it again on page 28. (Patrick J. Buchanan 
was also indicted by Sontag, for noting during his 1992 presidential 
campaign that white Americans could be in a minority by 2050. 
And that's true too — as we have seen. In fact, when they think 
they're safe, multiculturalists actually boast about it — look at 
Henry Cisneros on page 25 or Ada Deer on page 137.) 


This points to one reason the immigration debate has been so 
deeply flawed: 

• Because of the extraordinary difficulty American intellectuals and 
politicians have with any issue remotely connected with race 


Watching them struggle with this topic always reminds me of 
"Dr. Strangelove," one of the menagerie of characters played by 
Peter Sellers in the 1963 Stanley Kubrick comic movie Dr. Strange- 
love; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. 

Remember? Strangelove was a German immigrant who advised 
the U.S. president on nuclear strategy. He would appear to be to- 
tally sane and rational, if rather creepy. And then suddenly, in the 
middle of conversation, his right arm would start to give the Nazi 
salute and he would start to rant. He would wrestle his arm down 
and get control of himself. But a few minutes later, it would happen 

You have to be constantly on guard for a similar sort of explosive 
reflex when you talk to some Americans about these sensitive top- 
ics. They can converse calmly up to a point. Then, without warning, 
they snap. Their arms start to jerk and the ranting about "racism" 

These Americans would be deeply hurt by the comparison, of 
course. But it does convey the irrational character of this Strange- 
love Syndrome — and the extent to which it has paralyzed debate. 

Take this New York Times piece, for example. What I said was a 
fact. And what Buchanan said was logical. But Deborah Sontag 
clearly took it for granted that our comments were so self-evidently 
scandalous that she had merely to report them to reduce her audi- 
ence to quivering pools of shock and horror. 

In this situation, facts and logic are no defense. We are danger- 
ously close to a taboo — the point at which it is impossible to discuss 
race-related topics at all. 

This would be funny if it were not tragic. Here, for example, is 
The New York Times in May 1993 describing a man wanted for rap- 
ing, sodomizing and robbing two young women in the Chelsea area 
of Manhattan: 

The attacker is alleged to be between 25 and 30 years old, muscular 
and 5 feet ten inches to 6 feet tall. He is wearing a red long-sleeved 
sweatshirt, the police say. 

And here is the New York Post's description: "A muscular black 
man, 5-10 to 6-feet tall, wearing a red sweatshirt and dark pants." 5 


Journalists sometimes justify not reporting race on the grounds 
that "What difference does it make?" — as if making a difference was 
the test they apply to any other fact they report. In this case, how- 
ever, there was (even in New York City) a chance that a truthful 
description could have helped the rapist to be recognized and cap- 
tured. And prevented from raping again. 

Well, The New York Times does bear on its masthead the famous 
slogan: "All the News That's Fit to Print/' News about the race of 
criminals is definitely not fit to print — in the judgment of the Times 
and of all the American establishment media. And news about im- 
migration is pretty suspect too. 

All this "sensitivity" is a big change since 1965. At that time, the 
Immigration Act's supporters did not hesitate to discuss the Ameri- 
can ethnic balance in fairly explicit terms. 

What they said was totally wrong, of course. But they did not 
suggest that the subject itself was illegitimate — yet. 

That has come later, by degrees. It's part of the intellectual shell 
game that is typical of the evolving U.S. immigration debate. 


Which brings us to another reason for the peculiar failings of the 
debate on the 1965 Act: 

• Because the 1965 Immigration Act was not a policy: it was a na- 
tional emotional spasm 

Both the Act itself, and the mass immigration it unleashed, have 
powerful symbolic and psychological associations for important 
groups of Americans. These profoundly affected the debate in 1965. 
And they continue to distort it. 

Unlike many immigration enthusiasts, I don't think that psy- 
choanalyzing the other side is the same as refuting it. You can run 
from a rational argument in that way easily enough. But you can't 
really hide. Ultimately, whatever the argument's sinister hidden 
motivation, you have to deal with it on a rational level. 

Moreover, some of these psychological reflexes are honestly ac- 


quired and sincerely felt. They have to be accommodated in some 

But what if argument has ceased to be rational? If facts and logic 
no longer count? Obviously, in view of The Wedge (page 47) and 
The Pincers (page 63), most conventional immigration commentary 
is absurdly unrealistic. There is something unmistakably odd about 
the tenacity with which immigration enthusiasts have clung to the 
notion that immigration is not high by historical standards, and 
about the hysteria with which they respond to news of indisputable 
facts like the tilting U.S. ethnic balance. Under these circumstances, 
we have to worry about why this intellectual market so persistently 
refuses to clear — why opinions so stubbornly ignore facts. 

This irrationality was already glaringly obvious back in 1965. 
Secretary of State Dean Rusk, testifying about the diplomatic prob- 
lems allegedly caused by the national-origins system, admitted that 
Asians "were not complaining about numbers but about the principle 
which they considered discriminatory. " (Indeed, it's clear from the 
national origins of immigrants as revealed by Chart 11 that, by the 
1950s, immigration policy had been significantly relaxed.) Senator 
Sam Ervin, debunking the alleged need to reorient immigration pol- 
icy toward family reunification rather than skills, noted that there 
were in total only five or six thousand outstanding cases of family 
separation and pointed out that "we could cure any such injustice 
[by special legislation] without changing the status of all the countries 
of the earth." 6 

But the bill's supporters would not listen. They were determined 
on their radical solution; the actual problems were secondary. 

Occasionally, immigration enthusiasts will frankly tell you that 
they just can't handle the subject. One eminent case: Michael Kins- 
ley, the liberal costar of CNN's Crossfire television shout show, op- 
posite Pat Buchanan. 

Writing New Republic magazine's celebrated "TRB" commen- 
tary column, Kinsley started to twitch at my National Review arti- 
cle. He described it as "suggesting that free market capitalism itself 
. . . may depend on the continued predominance of Anglo-Saxon 
stock." It didn't [patient sigh!], and anyway I was just quoting the 
Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman. (See page 176.) 


But then Kinsley got his Strangelove Syndrome under control 
and concluded: 

There are counterarguments to all these points, and others. And 
counter-counterarguments. No one can know the effect of future 
large-scale immigration on our country. It has always been beneficial 
in the past, but that's no guarantee it will be so in the future. The 
previous tenant of this column, the late Richard Strout, believed pas- 
sionately that America's achievement of a liberal welfare state de- 
pended on levels of both affluence and social cohesion that were 
threatened by large-scale immigration. 

Immigration is a subject, I suspect, on which very few opinions are 
changed because of arguments or statistics. It's almost a matter of 
faith. Your views on immigration depend on your sense of what 
makes America America. For some it's endless open spaces. For 
some it's a demographic image frozen in time. For some that stuff on 
the Statue of Liberty still plucks a chord. All these visions of America 
have a large component of fantasy. But I know which fantasy I pre- 
fer. 7 

As I've said, I find people do change their opinions in response to 
argument about immigration. Putting that aside, however, Kins- 
ley's column is a remarkably honest confession of intellectual and 
emotional bankruptcy. He admits that no one knows what the effects 
of current immigration policy will be — enough to make any normal 
person want to call a halt. And he makes it clear that, although he 
recognizes there are serious arguments against immigration, he just 
can't bring himself to think the issue through. 

Just one question, though: 

• Why does he persist in attacking those of us who can? 


Another factor inhibiting the immigration debate: 

• Because the 1965 Immigration Act represented revenge for the hu- 
miliation inflicted on some of the groups that had been cut back in 
1921-24, and an affirmation of their status in American society. 


By a pleasing coincidence, this was personified by the House 
sponsor of the 1965 Act, Representative Emanuel Celler (D.-New 
York). Celler was the only then current member of the House who 
had been in Congress when the quota system had been enacted in 
1924. He had made his maiden speech opposing it. In 1965, speak- 
ing with emotion that still suffuses the transcript, he said: 

I am glad I am living today and have lived to see that my theories 
have been vindicated, that we are now to obliterate and nullify and 
cancel out this admonition [sic— presumably abomination] called the 
national theory [sic— presumably national origin theory] of immigra- 

Celler also published in the Congressional Record a statement 
"designed to correct mistaken notions" about his bill. He claimed it 
would not let in "great numbers of immigrants from anywhere," 
including Africa and Asia. The effect of the bill on the U.S. popula- 
tion, he said, would be "quite insignificant." 8 

So much for Emanuel Celler. 

It is very common to hear Americans who trace their ancestry 
back to the 1890-1920 First Great Wave Era citing this folk mem- 
ory to shame each other out of doubts about the current immigra- 
tion. For example, in the New Republic column quoted above, 
Michael Kinsley quipped pointedly that if the restrictionists had tri- 
umphed earlier, "it might have spared us [FAIR executive director] 
Dan Stein." Stein is Jewish, and his forebears came here in the early 

(An extreme form of this tactic is to invoke the Holocaust and 
blame American immigration restrictions for hampering the escape 
of Hitler's victims. Since restriction happened in the 1920s when 
Hitler was residing in jail and the Nazis were apparently eliminated 
as a political force, this is hardly reasonable. But it is also an impos- 
sible basis for immigration policy. There is no limit to the foreign 
tragedies that theoretically could have been avoided if their victims 
had been in the United States instead of wherever they happened 
to be.) 

There are various responses to this appeal to ancestors. Lawrence 
Auster, author of The Path to National Suicide, always replies 


frankly that he thinks Americans had a right to preserve their na- 
tion regardless of the effect on his own family. Dan Stein has pat- 
ented another answer. 

While I was writing this book, National Review editor John 
O'Sullivan and I arranged a dinner in New York to introduce Ira 
Mehlman, FAIR'S Director of Media Outreach, to Norman Pod- 
horetz, the celebrated editor of Commentary magazine. Podhoretz, 
a neoconservative, is deeply committed to immigration. Eventually, 
he invoked their common forebears. 

Mehlman, of course, spends all his time collecting arguments 
against immigration. He smiled the serene smile of one who knows 
his boxing glove is loaded with lead. Then he hit Podhoretz between 
the eyes with Stein's stunner: 

• Saying you can't object to current immigration because your 
great-grandparents were immigrants in 1900 is just like saying 
that, because you were once a fetus, therefore you should be 
against abortion. 

Norman Podhoretz is a heavyweight brawling champion in the 
toughest dinner-debate city in the world. You don't just knock him 
down. He clinched, and the exchange ended in an inconclusive 

But he was shaken. Watching closely, I could see him thinking, 


Another factor that explains the flawed immigration debate: 

• Because of the prolonged national trauma over Civil Rights legisla- 
tion — and the resulting generalized revulsion against anything 
thought to smack of '^iiscrimination." 

The Civil Rights Act was passed the year before the Immigration 
Act, in 1964. The related Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965. 
Both were the culmination of a long and bitter battle over the treat- 


ment of American blacks, which had been raging at least since the 
imposition of the "Jim Crow" segregation laws of the 1890s. 

Eliminating the national-origins immigration quota system was 
part of that battle's aftermath — like shooting the wounded. (Or, in 
this case, since the national-origins system had no historical con- 
nection to segregation, a civilian bystander.) 

The Civil Rights battle has left deep and permanent scars on 
America. It has imbued important sections of the political elite, and 
of public opinion, with a powerful conditioned reflex: that "dis- 
crimination" is the primary manifestation of evil in society, to be 
rooted out wherever it is detected. 

(I'm not exaggerating about this. When Alexander was a few 
months old, Maggy took him to a mothers' meeting at Manhattan's 
92nd Street YM-YWHA. The librarian gave a talk about children's 
books. She warned against books encouraging racism, sexism, . . . 
and speciesism. For example, if you read to your child about Little 
Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, you must balance it with a 
book showing that wolves are loving, caring parents. Fortunately, 
Alexander is more interested in fire trucks.) 

The national-origins quotas were just the beginning for the Civil 
Rights reflex. Eventually, a wide range of social questions, far 
removed from black-white relations, have come to be handled as 
problems of "discrimination." 

Take Washington's decision to help the handicapped in the late 
1980s. From an economist's standpoint, this is a welfare program, a 
subsidy. It could have been organized as a welfare program quite 
simply, by taxing money away from the public and spending it on 
this (or any other) worthy cause. 

But, instead, helping the handicapped was converted to a Civil 
Rights issue. The handicapped have been invested with "rights" — 
of access, of employment. Landlords and employers have been re- 
quired to observe these rights on pain of public and private 
litigation. Which is why you see all those wheelchair ramps that 
never get used. The motive may be noble. But it's very expensive. 
And (as a matter of fact) not particularly effective. 

The difficulty is that not all social questions fit into this Civil 
Rights framework. Immigration is a classic example. 

Firstly, it's unclear that foreigners have any right to immigrate to 


whatever country they want. And to compare any such "immigra- 
tion right" to the civil rights of black American citizens surely risks 
trivializing the latter. 

Secondly, immigration policy is inherently discriminatory. Some 
people are allowed in. Others are not. There is no way to avoid this. 
Not even removing all border controls would avoid it— that would 
discriminate, in effect, in favor of those in neighboring countries 
and against those whose journey would be longer and more expen- 

The only question is: by what criteria do we discriminate? But 
this question was acutely embarrassing for the antidiscrimination 
legislators who framed the 1965 Immigration Act. So, after abolish- 
ing the national-origins quotas, they gave no coherent answer. In 
fact, to the maximum extent possible, they avoided the question 
altogether, by making immigration itself a sort of "civil right"— 
extended to an accidentally selected, self-perpetuating group of 
foreigners: the relatives of citizens and resident aliens. 

The result is the chaos that now constitutes U.S. immigration 
policy. And, needless to say, real discrimination against those for- 
eigners not among the (accidentally selected, self-perpetuating) fa- 
vored few. 

The emotion that underlay this policy incoherence is quite easy to 
understand and, indeed, respect. For a significant number of Amer- 
ican whites, the Civil Rights movement was a genuine crusade. It 
drew on two of the most powerful moral traditions shaping the 
modern world: the evangelicism of the descendants of the New Enr 
gland Puritans, and the messianism of the descendants of the East- 
ern European Jews. Its triumph remains fundamental to their sense 
of moral order. To the extent that the 1965 Immigration Act is seen 
as part of the Civil Rights triumph, it is above criticism— let alone 

But there is a terrible irony here. For it is at least arguable that 
the immigration unleashed by the 1965 Act has significantly wors- 
ened the plight of American blacks. And that plight, despite the 
Civil Rights triumph, has deteriorated sharply and shockingly. (See 
pages 173-75.) 



A further factor, uncharted but powerful, affecting the U.S. immi- 
gration debate: 

• Because, just as everyone has heard of'nativists" and their dislike of 
foreigners, so there are also "aliens" who dislike the natives, and the 
America that the natives built. To these "aliens" (who are quite 
often not immigrants, but the disgruntled, "alienated" native- 
born) mass immigration offers potential reinforcement and sup- 

This fierce current swirling beneath America's bland multicul- 
tural surface was first charted and named in National Review by the 
columnist Joseph Sobran — himself of Ukrainian stock, and there- 
fore fully entitled to complain about the 1921-24 Restriction if he 
felt like it. Sobran pointed out that contemporary American politi- 
cal language 

... abounds in words for the hostility of the native for the alien, the 
majority for the minority, the respectable for the marginal, white for 
black, Christian for Jew, and so forth. We have prejudice, bigotry, 
racism, anti-Semitism, nativism, xenophobia, bias, discrimination 
and so forth. But these words are themselves prejudicial: They sum 
up, one-sidedly, a vast range of sentiment and behavior without ad- 
mitting reciprocal moral realities: the hostility of Jew for Christian, 
black for white, marginal for respectable, minority for majority, alien 
for native, abnormal for normal. . . . 

... If we can sum up the worst attitudes of one side in the term 
"Nativism," then we ought to have some such term as "Alienism" 
(with apologies to the psychiatric profession) to sum up those of the 
other. 9 

This concept of alienism is crucial to understanding American 
politics — and, indeed, American culture. Because the American im- 
migration debate has been so one-sided, "alienists" are quite often 
startlingly open, or unguarded, about their agenda. 

Here, for example, is Raoul Lowery Contreras writing in the Sac- 
ramento weekly paper El Hispano. Contreras is angry about a syn- 


dicated column by George Will, raising questions about current im- 
migration policy. Will had been nice enough to quote a point I 
made in my National Review cover story: "The onus should not be on 
critics of current [immigration] policy to explain their motives. In- 
stead, supporters of current policy must explain why they wish to 
transform the American nation as it had evolved by 1965. " 
Obligingly, Contreras explains why: 

In their precious 1965, 1 was 24 years old and, though I was a veteran 
of six years service in the American armed forces and a life-long U.S. 
citizen, I could not vote in some Texas counties. Fellow Marines, 
black Marines, couldn't vote in at least ten states of the land of the 
brave and of the free. 

... In 1965, Black children were murdered by white males in many 
ways, in many places, in the South. Black male adults were beaten, 
killed and castrated in Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and other 
Southern states for the crime of having a black skin. ... In 1965, 
though a veteran, college graduate and political professional, a bar- 
tender refused to serve me a drink in a Texas bar because, he said, 
"We don't serve foreigners." 

That was Brimelow's and Will's 1965 America. Unfortunately, it 
was my 1965 America also. That's the America that needed to be 
transformed and that's exactly what's happening, Brimelow, Will and 
Metzger notwithstanding. 10 [Italics added] 

(Tom Metzger is the leader of the neo-Nazi White Aryan Resist- 
ance. In a 1990 case, he was held liable for civil damages on the 
theory that his views had inspired three of his followers to murder 
an Ethiopian immigrant. Contreras seems to have thrown him in to 
keep us company.) 

This column would certainly cow most Americans. But, with an 
immigrant's insensitivity to national customs, I say: bunk! Even at 
the height of the Jim Crow Era, the United States was not Hitler's 
Third Reich. And by 1965, lynching had long been suppressed and 
the federal government was intervening massively throughout the 
South to prevent voting fraud. 

However, the factual accuracy of Contreras's argument is not im- 


portant here. What is important is his profound alienation from 
America — and his conscious support of immigration as a way of 
striking back. 

Let me emphasize: given his emotional attitudes, Contreras's pol- 
icy prescription is entirely logical. 

I just think that, when he urges his prescription on the American 
people, he should explain his motives to them. 



By this point, it's obvious why American liberals have been deter- 
minedly, even devoutly, incurious about immigration. As a for- 
eigner, you quickly learn never to raise with them anything that 
could remotely be connected with race or ethnicity. 

But the silence of the American conservatives — broken only by 
strong characters like Washington Times columnist Samuel Francis 
and Chronicles magazine editor Thomas Fleming, in striking con- 
trast to the aggressive Americanism of Republicans from Henry 
Cabot Lodge to Theodore Roosevelt last time around — has a more 
complex cause. 

In his first volume of autobiography, Making It, Norman Podho- 
retz describes the "brutal bargain" by which he says the children of 
Eastern European Jews were accepted into WASP society at the 
price of repressing their ethnic mores. 11 Similarly, the American 
conservative movement has reached what might be called a "bland 
bargain" with the liberal establishment that has been so powerful in 
the United States since the New Deal of the 1930s. 

Conservatives are now somewhat more likely to be allowed into 
public debate than in the dark years of the 1950s. But they still must 
not say anything that impinges upon the truly sacred liberal 
taboos — above all, of course, anything that might be remotely con- 
nected with ethnicity or race. And immigration is inextricably so 

Slaves naturally try to curry favor with their masters. Some con- 
servatives, fixated on the issue of economic growth, have appar- 


ently calculated that, by emphasizing the (assumed) need for more 
immigration, they can establish their nonracist credentials and pos- 
sibly even advance their limited agenda with the liberal elite. 

Other slaves can grow to love their chains. These are conserva- 
tives who have internalized the prohibitions under which they must 
operate. An example, alas, seems to be Paul Gigot, the Wall Street 
Journal editorial page's very readable Washington columnist. Writ- 
ing about the question, which became an issue early in the 1992 
presidential election cycle, of whether a million Englishmen or a 
million Zulus would assimilate more easily into Virginia, Gigot ex- 
pressed good inside-the-Beltway distaste. Then he added an eco- 
nomic-growth twist: "The Zulus . . . would probably work harder 
than the English. " 12 

This comment reveals an utter innocence about the reality of eth- 
nic and cultural differences, let alone about little things like tradi- 
tion and history — in short, the greater part of what would normally 
be regarded as the conservative vision. 

Even in its own purblind terms, it is totally false. All the empirical 
evidence is that immigrants from developed countries assimilate to 
the American economy better than those from underdeveloped 
countries. As George Borjas puts it 

. . . the per capita GNP in the United Kingdom is more than six times 
greater than the Dominican Republic. It is not surprising that immi- 
grant households originating in the Dominican Republic are about 
five times more likely to be on welfare than those in the United King- 
dom. 13 

But it should not be necessary to explain that the legacy of 
Chaka, founder of the Zulu Empire, who among other exploits 
killed all his concubines' children, sometimes with his own hands, 
massacred some seven thousand of his own subjects to mark his 
mother's death, sliced open a hundred pregnant women to satisfy a 
fleeting interest in embryology, and ordered executions at whim 
daily until his assassination in 1828 14 — about the time de Tocque- 
ville was getting ready to visit the United States to research Democ- 
racy in America — is not that of Alfred the Great, let alone that of 
Elizabeth II or any civilized society. 


Let's spell it out with an anecdote. A year or so ago, the South 
African police was perplexed by an epidemic of murders on the 
black commuter trains from Johannesburg. Naturally, Nelson 
Mandela's African National Congress blamed the white govern- 
ment. But the victims were from all factions. Now it has emerged 
that the black operators of the semilegal private cab services com- 
peting with the railroad had paid gangs of those hardworking Zulus 
to influence consumer preferences by going on board and throwing 
passengers from the moving trains. 


A final, highly personal reason that U.S. immigration debate is 

• because much commentary about immigration is quite clearly the 
projection of personal values, fears, phobias and fantasies. 

This is something, of course, that is regularly taken for granted 
about immigration critics — see Deborah Sontag, page 95, above. 
But it is less often applied to immigration enthusiasts. Yet, as we 
have seen, immigration critics have in fact been right and enthusi- 
asts wrong. 

An example of the phenomenon, freely admitted except for the 
part about being wrong, is the leader of the immigration enthusiasts 
(economists' division): Julian Simon himself. Simon has dominated 
the immigration debate so much, and in such a personal way, that 
it's worth examining his statements on the subject carefully. 

In The Economic Consequences of Immigration, Simon makes an 
admirable effort to be honest about his underlying emotions: 

Perhaps a few words about my tastes are appropriate. I delight in 
looking at the variety of faces I see on the subway when I visit New 
York; . . . [telling innocent schoolgirls visiting from Ireland] about 
the Irish in New York — and about other groups too — I get tears in 
my eyes, as again I do now in recalling the incident. 15 


This is obviously somewhat different from my own reaction to 
the New York subway, although presumably we are both studying 
those faces to see if their owners plan to mug us— the interest that 
unites subway-riding New Yorkers of all races. 

However, although Simon presents his preference as a matter of 
personal "taste" — different strokes for different volksl — in debate 
he is notoriously quick with accusations of "racism" if anyone 
dares mention America's shifting ethnic balance. Talking in 1990 to 
Jim Cook of Forbes magazine, Simon was flatly dogmatic: 

The notion of wanting to keep out immigrants in order to keep our 
institutions and our values is pure prejudice. 16 

The intensity of this reaction goes beyond "taste" and into the 
realm of psychology. 

When I reread this Forbes interview in mid-1993, 1 was quite sur- 
prised. I had just had dinner with Simon near his home in suburban 
Washington. "Why do you worry about immigration?" he had said 
thoughtfully, fixing me with a psychoanalytical eye. "I think it's like 
wanting your children to look like you," he answered himself help- 
fully. "Which is OK," he added kindly. "It's just a matter of value 

I wasn't sure I agreed with this dissection of me. But when I re- 
read that interview, I certainly wanted to know if my suspected 
value judgment was, in fact, OK or not, should I wish to confess 
to it. 

So I called Simon up and asked him about his Forbes fulmina- 

"Oh," he said without batting an eye, "I was probably too 

Simon is the sort of engagingly frank fellow who will tell you 
what he thinks about sex before you've reached the main course of 
your first dinner together. (He's in favor.) Accordingly, his remark- 
able explicitness about the relationship between his work and his 
underlying emotions should be no surprise. But it appears to have 
stunned his academic peers into silence: they never mention it. 

For example, in his widely praised 1981 book on population, The 
Ultimate Resource, Simon wrote: 


When I began my population studies, I was in the midst of a depres- 
sion of unusual duration. ... As I studied the economics of popula- 
tion and worked my way to the views I now hold — that population 
growth, along with the lengthening of human life, is a moral and ma- 
terial triumph — my outlook for myself, for my family, and for the 
future of humanity became more optimistic. Eventually, I was able to 
pull myself out of my depression. This is only part of the story, but 
there is at least some connection between the two sets of mental 
events — my population studies and my increasing optimism. 17 

In his riveting 1993 book, Good Mood: The New Psychology of 
Overcoming Depression, Simon — who majored in psychology at 
Harvard before taking his Ph.D. in business economics at the Uni- 
versity of Chicago — offers a step-by-step course in self-therapy, 
with extensive reference to his own experience. 

He was severely depressed, he writes, for thirteen years. He re- 
frained from killing himself only because he believed his young 
family needed him. He traces this depression in part to the way his 
parents pressured him as a child. And (in a passage rending to a 
middle-aged new father's heart) he reports: 

When I was an infant, my parents put me into a large box-like struc- 
ture hung outside a second floor window, well-checked by an archi- 
tect friend for safety. In accord with the theory of the times, they 
taught me independence by refusing to accede to my cries when I 
sought attention and company. 18 

They did what! You begin to wonder if you really want to chal- 
lenge Simon's ideas face-to-face — and not only because, at a 
famous cocktail party, he threw not one but three gin and tonics 
over a faculty colleague who had disparaged him at an Earth Day 
teach-in. 19 

It's safe, actually. He's charming. But there, in microcosm, is a 
considerable slice of America's inhibited immigration debate. 



For all these and other reasons, by the late 1980s American immi- 
gration debate was blocked by a sort of intellectual gridlock. The 
number of immigrants was building. Public disquiet was rising. But 
every major magazine and newspaper, and the leaderships of both 
political parties remained adamantly in favor of immigration. Even 
alarming new evidence was not being considered. 

Such was the grip of the American elite's pro-immigration con- 
sensus, for example, that when George Borjas's book Friends or 
Strangers appeared in 1990, reviewers simply assumed Borjas must 
be pro-immigration too. They completely failed to pick up on what 
he described as his "worrisome" evidence that problems were devel- 
oping with the post-1965 immigrant flow. Thus BusinessWeek's as- 
sociate economics editor Michael J. Mandel reviewed both Borjas's 
and Simon's books under the drum-beating heading does 


Possibly provoked by such total misreadings, Borjas in the fol- 
lowing year spelled out his position in the preface to his paperback 

... it is almost certain that during the 1990s new immigrants will make 
up at least a third of all new labor market entrants. In view of the avail- 
able empirical evidence, there is no economic rationale to justify this 
huge increase in the size of the foreign-born population. 21 [Italics 

(He's right, incidentally. For more on the economic aspects of 
immigration, see Chapters 7 and 8.) 

Even more significant, given his elevated position in the Ameri- 
can media food chain, was this recent outburst from longtime New 
York Times editor A. M. Rosenthal. Like Julian Simon, Rosenthal 
harks back to his childhood: 

Almost always now, when I read about Haitians who risk the seas to 
get to this country but wind up behind barbed wire, I think of an 
illegal immigrant I happen to know myself, and of his daughters and 
his son. 
Then a shiver of shame and embarrassment goes through me . . . 


The illegal immigrant was — guess! — Rosenthal's father. He came 
here from Russia via Canada. 

Many years later, when his children told the story of their father and 
his determination to find work in America, to hell with borders, peo- 
ple smiled in admiration of this man. And always, his children were 
filled with pride about him. ... I know that if he had been born in 
Haiti or lived there, he would have broken every law that stood be- 
tween him and work in the U.S. 

In short, because one generation of Americans failed to catch an 
illegal immigrant, their children must accept more. 

Imagine what a quick pickup [a] lobby, or parade, demanding succor 
for the Haitians could do if it were headed by a few Irish- American 
Cardinals, a batch of rabbis and the presidents of Eastern European, 
Greek, Italian, Arab and Turkish organizations. American Blacks 
and Wasps welcome too! ... 

. . . Even reluctantly recognizing some economic limitations, this 
country should have the moral elegance to accept neighbors who flee 
countries where life is terror and hunger, and are run by murderous 
gangs left over from dictatorships we ourselves maintained and cos- 

If that were a qualification for entry into our golden land, the Hai- 
tians should be welcomed with song, embrace and memories. 22 

(Be careful about those embraces, Mr. Rosenthal, sir. Some 
3 percent of the Haitian refugees at Guantanamo tested HIV- 
positive. 23 ) 

The search for an explanation for the paralysis of the American 
immigration debate need go no further than this raging psycho- 
drama in the mind of the man who, as the longtime editor of The 
New York Times, substantially set the national media agenda. 

Actually, Rosenthal is unfair to Jewish organizations. They have 
generally supported immigration. FAIR'S Ira Mehlman looks de- 
pressed at the thought. 

"They still think it's 1939," he says. "But even if we took all the 
Soviet Jews, and all the Israelis, that would still only be 6 million 
people." 24 As it is, FAIR expects 10 to 15 million immigrants in the 



The reasons for America's flawed immigration debate are varied. 
Beyond any question, cowardice, corruption, and stupidity on the 
part of politicians and pundits play a major role. But so too does a 
sincere, if misplaced, moral sentiment — and an honest perplexity in 
the face of issues that are as difficult as any that have faced a free 
society. On a human level, the hesitations and evasions of the 
American elite are all too easy to understand. 

But not to forgive. No one ever said it was easy to defend a great 
nation. And this applies as much to civilians as to soldiers. 

In 1927, the French writer Mien Benda published a book con- 
demning France's intellectuals for their fascination with politics 
rather than culture and art — La Trahison des Geres, or "Treason of 
the Clerks," using "clerk" in its medieval sense to mean the edu- 
cated classes. 

This phrase exactly describes the behavior of America's elite as 
the disaster of the 1965 Immigration Act has become apparent. The 
evils that this policy has inflicted upon the country will still be felt in 
a hundred years, quite probably even more intensely with the pas- 
sage of time. Yet they were always preventable. The American po- 
litical elite could have prevented them. It failed in its supreme 
function, for reasons about which the best that could be said is that 
they were self-indulgent. 

And this, in its own way, was a species of treason. 

Needless to say, elite members aren't very enthusiastic about this 
criticism. They are still to be found denying that immigration has 
any negative consequences. Above all, they deny that immigration's 
transformation of America is a proper subject for discussion. 

In Chapter 3, page 66, 1 identified this as the "So What?" reac- 
tion. We examine it in the next chapter. 



Without fully realizing it, we have left the time when the nonwhite, 
non- Western part of our population could be expected to assimilate 
to the dominant majority. In the future, the white Western major- 
ity will have to do some assimilation of its own. 


director of population studies, Population Reference Bureau, in 

American Demographics, October 1991; now director, Bureau of the 

Census, in the Clinton administration 

One winter afternoon early in 1990, 1 attended a seminar for 
assorted journalists and what were just beginning to be 
called "policy wonks" at New York's Manhattan Institute 
to hear Julian Simon talk about his just-published book, The Eco- 
nomic Consequences of Immigration. 

Simon and I hadn't met before. But, living in the little cata- 
comb of free-market writers, we knew each other's work. He 
greeted me warmly, quizzed me about my rumored deviationism on 
immigration, and kindly inscribed my copy of his book: 




MARCH 14, 1990 


How very nice! It made me feel quite guilty that it was just a free 
review copy I'd been sent by National Review. 

Author seminars of this sort are extremely valuable in stimulat- 
ing ideas — even in this case, where most members of the audience 
were (as usual) Simon groupies. 

One, however, was emphatically not. The demographer Michael 
S. Teitelbaum, a program officer at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, 
put down a heavy barrage on Simon that I found enthralling. Much 
of it is reflected in Chapters 2 and 3. Among other points, Teitel- 
baum noted that Simon in his brief talk had neglected to mention 
the fact that current immigration is historically high — compared to 
native-born Americans' birthrates. (See pages 43-45.) 

Being nasty to one another at point-blank range across a seminar 
table is apparently quite normal in the academic world, where both 
Teitelbaum and Simon have their roots. It just shocks sensitive 
journalists like me. Simon's response probably wasn't exceptional 
in form. But its content made it explosive. 

Look, he said in effect, from an economic standpoint the only 
important issue is the overall size of the population. The relation- 
ship between immigration and native-born American birthrates 
doesn't tell you anything new. It only tells you about how immigra- 
tion is going to change the composition of the population. 

And why would the population's composition be important? Un- 
less you care about . . . race? 


Race! RACE!! As an immigrant, I was fascinated, once again, to 
watch the mere threat of an accusation of racism send the native- 
born Americans scattering for cover like hightailing rabbits. Except 
for Teitelbaum. He bravely stood his ground, although I don't re- 
member exactly what he said. 

Similarly, as we saw in Chapter 3, an implicit accusation of rac- 
ism is the common reaction of a vocal minority of Americans to 
news of their country's shifting ethnic balance: "So what?" And, 

117 SO WHAT? 

given prevailing sensitivities, it is the most dangerous response to 

I say a vocal minority because I think the vast majority of Ameri- 
cans regard as just a matter of common sense that the composition 
of a country's population cannot, in fact, be changed without risk- 
ing dramatic consequences. You can tell from the momentary per- 
plexity that comes into their eyes when confronted with the "So 
What?" reflex. 

But they lack the language to express their concerns. So they hesi- 
tate and fall silent. Time and again, the "So What?" reflex succeeds 
in effectively crippling all discussion of America's impending ethnic 
revolution in particular — and, indeed, of immigration in general. 

This happens although there are some extraordinary aspects of 
the impending ethnic revolution that, by any standard, deserve dis- 
cussion in a democracy: 

• It is unprecedented in history. No sovereign state has ever under- 
gone such a radical and rapid transformation. (See pages 124-33.) 

• It is wholly and entirely the result of government policy. Immigra- 
tion is causing both the shifting American ethnic balance and also 
the projected massive increase in overall population. Left to them- 
selves, pre- 1965 Americans would be stabilizing both their ethnic 
proportions and their overall numbers. 

In other words: let's suppose that it would indeed be impolite to 
raise the question of ethnic balance — if a shift were occurring due to 
the unaided efforts of one's fellow Americans, resulting in different 
birthrates for different groups. 

But how can it be impolite to mention it when the shift is due to 
the arrival of unprecedented numbers of foreigners — arbitrarily 
and accidentally selected by a government that specifically and re- 
peatedly denied it was doing any such thing? 



Nevertheless, the "So What?" reflex is usually decisive. It is suffi- 
ciently powerful, for example, that Dan Stein's Federation for 
American Immigration Reform has deliberately steered away from 
any mention of ethnic balance in its arguments against immigra- 
tion. FAIR concentrates very firmly on immigration's role in swell- 
ing U.S. population, and on the various ways in which it hurts 
native-born Americans, such as displacing them from jobs, con- 
suming tax dollars and so on. 

These arguments are perfectly reasonable. And they do reflect the 
concerns of FAIR'S founders. FAIR was founded in 1979, primar- 
ily by representatives of the environmentalist and population move- 
ments. Sheer population size is a worry for them because it 
undeniably does put pressure on the ecology. (See pages 187-90.) 

Needless to say, FAIR gets no particular credit for its restraint. 
One amusing example: look at Deborah Sontag's disparaging body 
language — no doubt quite unconscious — in her New York Times 
article from which I've already quoted: 

Mr. Stein is usually careful to base his fear about increasing immigra- 
tion on arguments about scarce resources. He often voices concern 
about immigrants displacing black and Hispanic Americans from 
jobs. But others, Mr. Buchanan for example, also resent the "dilu- 
tion" of their European heritage. 1 [Italics added — but insinuative 
paragraphing retained!] 


The "So What?" reflex is perhaps the most important example of 
the way in which the American immigration debate has stalled be- 
cause everyone is looking at the wrong thing. 

A key thesis of this book is that immigration has consequences. In 
Part 2, we will examine some of these consequences. A number of 
them do relate to sheer population size and the impact on native- 
born Americans. But others do require us to boldly go into the com- 
position of the immigrant flow, for a variety of reasons, including 

119 SO WHAT? 

However, the "So What?" reflex demands a more general re- 
The entire question needs to be refocused as follows: 

• The onus should not be on critics of current immigration policy to 
explain their motives. Instead, supporters of current policy must ex- 
plain why they wish to transform the American nation as it had 
evolved by 1965. 

In other words, the answer to the "So What?" reflex is "So why?" 

Why does America have to be transformed? What have you got 
against it? 

As we saw in Chapter 5, pages 105-7, there is a class of people in 
America who absolutely, positively (as it says in the Federal Ex- 
press TV ads) do want to transform America. And they look to im- 
migration to help them achieve this object. Their alienation from 
America as it currently exists is so powerful as to justify calling 
them "alienists" — the opposite of the much-denounced "nativists" 
whose attachment to America is so intense that they distrust anyone 
who might conceivably change it. 

Alienists, therefore, do have answers to the question "So why?" 
One common alienist answer: because American whites must be 
swamped by immigration to make it impossible for them to act on 
their racist impulses. 

Sound extreme? Listen to Earl Raab, of Brandeis University's In- 
stitute for Jewish Advocacy and columnist for the San Francisco 
Jewish Bulletin. Denouncing the Great Restriction of the 1920s, 
Raab wrote: 

It was only after World War II that immigration law was drastically 
changed to eliminate such discrimination. In one of the first pieces of 
evidence of its political coming-of-age, the Jewish community has a 
leadership role in effecting those changes. 2 

And calling for the German government to ban neo-Nazi groups, 
he noted happily that — 

The Census Bureau has just reported that about half of the American 
population will soon be non-white or non-European. And they will 


all be American citizens. We have tipped beyond the point where a 
Nazi-Aryan party will be able to prevail in this country. 

We have been nourishing the American climate of opposition to 
ethnic bigotry for about half a century. That climate has not yet been 
perfected, but the heterogeneous nature of our population tends to 
make it irreversible — and makes our constitutional constraints 
against bigotry more practical than ever. 3 

This is, of course, almost laughable in its apparent confirmation 
of anti-Semitic stereotypes. And it tends to make those prominent 
critics of U.S. immigration policy who are Jewish, some of whom 
we have already met, very angry indeed. 

But it is an internally consistent answer to the question "So 
why?" In order to prevent it from discriminating against minorities, 
the historic American majority must be destroyed. 

It's consistent, all right. However, as in the case of Raoul Lowery 
Contreras, I think it is an answer that should be clearly explained to 
the American majority, when they come to consider whether they 
should allow the current transformation of their country to con- 


Actually, Earl Raab's argument is foolish even on its own terms. It 
is precisely in the most diverse societies that people are the most 
conscious of ethnicity and race. It was in the Austro-Hungarian 
Empire, where the Germans were a minority exposed to Slavs, 
Magyars and Jews from the shtetls of Galicia, that anti-Semitism 
first became a viable electoral force — and Adolf Hitler was born 
and spent his formative years. 

Conversely, Norman Podhpretz, writing in his autobiography 
Making It about his years with the U.S. army in Germany, much of 
it spent with white Southerners, reports his "amazement" on dis- 
covering that a "hillbilly buddy" had simply never realized that he, 
Podhoretz, was Jewish. 

This emerged one night outside a Frankfurt bar. Podhoretz was 


trying to explain why he had felt obliged to insist they both leave 
after he had got into a row (in German, which of course only Pod- 
horetz understood) with a former Waffen SS man. 

"He was both fascinated and shocked," Podhoretz says of his 
friend, "but it took him exactly one second to recover. 'Let's go 
back in there and kill the dirty kraut bastard,' he said." 4 

To this day, the counties of the Appalachian South are among 
the most ethnically homogeneous in the United States. They consist 
very largely of British-origin whites. Amazing though it must ap- 
pear to a native New Yorker, it would be quite normal for people 
from such a background not to notice whether any individual is 
Jewish. Apart from anything else, why waste the effort? Nobody 
ever is. 

Similarly, when I was at Stanford, a Chinese student once told 
me that she was always in trouble with her American roommate for 
being unable to describe the various hopeful males who came pa- 
trolling by their door. 

"She asks, 'What color eyes? What color hair?' " my friend said. 
"But I don't notice — in China, why would we look?" 

The mountain Southerners would, of course, notice if the individ- 
ual was black (or Chinese). But, as it happens, there are relatively 
few blacks in the area. 

Which in turn meant that black-white relationships were not 
quite the pressing problem they have been elsewhere in the South. 
The abolition of slavery was an issue that meant much less to the 
mountain counties. And, for precisely that reason, they were most 
inclined of all the South to support the Union side in the Civil 
War — in a great arc stretching from West Virginia, which actually 
seceded from Confederate Virginia, down to Winston County in 
northern Alabama, which declared itself "the Free State of Win- 
ston" and sent several companies of troops to fight, as Alabama 
units, in the Union army. 5 

Once again: ethnicity, and demography, is destiny in American 
politics. The homogeneous group can afford to be secure in its liber- 
alism toward outsiders. 

You can see the logic of ethnic politics in a diverse society easily 
enough. Ethnic identity is always the simplest way to organize sup- 


port. This is particularly true when it reflects genuine cultural differ- 
ences, which mean there are even more irritating points of friction 
to get angry about. 

When supreme power in the society is in strong hands, these eth- 
nic differences often remain quiescent. Greek and Turkish Cypriots 
fought relatively little when Britain ruled Cyprus, for example. The 
Armenians and Azerbaijanis put up with each other, more or less, 
when the Caucasus were under the Soviet Union. 

Trouble began when these imperial umpires quit. Then each eth- 
nic group saw a chance of grabbing power for itself— or a threat 
that its rivals might. 

The United States, of course, is not part of a greater empire but is 
an independent country. Nevertheless, it faces the direct equivalent 
of being abandoned by an imperial umpire: the breaking of what on 
page 58 we saw called "the racial hegemony of white Americans. " 

As that white voting bloc is reduced in relative size, ever more 
intense incentive will be offered enterprising politicians of all ethnic 
groups, including, perhaps, the almost-majority whites, to whip 
their own supporters into line in order to marshal their vote. Su- 
preme power in American politics will have come within grabbing 
range — no longer for any one bloc but for an unstable, jockeying 
combination of them. 

This is the situation that Raab thinks will diminish "ethnic big- 
otry." Actually, of course, it will put a premium on it. 

The point at which that "racial hegemony of white Americans" 
will be broken is not easy to estimate. (Although the Census Bureau 
has said flatly that whites will go below half of California's popula- 
tion as early as 2000. 6 ) American politics have always been sec- 
tional. The uneven distribution of immigration will tend to force 
the country's regions ever further apart. (See map, pages 70-71.) 
Additionally, the American federal-election system is complicated. 
It can produce paradoxical results. 

But foreign experience suggests that the breaking point could 
come well before whites slip below half of the overall U.S. popula- 
tion. In Canada, although the French-speaking minority has never 
been much above a quarter of the population, it has been able to 
dominate national politics for most of this century by voting as a 
bloc. English-speaking Canadians have been typically so split that 

123 SO WHAT? 

federal governments based solely on their support have been elected 
very rarely, although they have comprised around three quarters of 
Canada's population. 

To some extent, this sort of ethnic rotation has happened before, 
in many of America's cities. Arguably, it began with the Irish dis- 
placement of the Colonial-stock Yankees in New York and Boston, 
confirmed when the first Irish Catholic mayors were elected in 1881 
and 1885 respectively. 

But the ethnic differences the United States confronts now are 
exceptionally deep — perhaps unbridgeable. Here, too, previous 
American experience might be suggestive. No transfer of power at 
City Hall from one European immigrant group to another ever pro- 
duced anything equivalent to the "white flight" that has followed 
the election of black mayors in cities like Detroit and Newark. 

And now the prize is so much larger — the whole country. This 
time, moreover, there will be no suburban enclaves to which to flee. 

All of which leads us to a follow-up question for immigration en- 

• While explaining why they want to transform America, supporters of 
current immigration policy should also explain just exactly what 
makes them think multiracial societies work 


Over three years after I first met Julian Simon, I was having dinner 
with him to debate our differences. We got on to the question of 
whether multiethnic and multiracial societies can work. 

"Yugoslavia . . . ," I began, thinking of the Serbo-Croatian- 
Bosnian war that had exploded into the headlines. 

"Yes! Yugoslavia!" he interrupted gleefully. "That supports my 
case, doesn't it?" 

I was so surprised that I felt my jaw drop — something that really 
happens, I find, and not just in cartoons. It took me several seconds 
to realize what he meant: 

• The former Yugoslavs are fighting despite the fact that they are all 
the same race (white). Indeed, they are all members of the same 


general ethnic group (South Slav). Even the language spoken by 
the two major contestants (Serbs and Croats) is basically the same 
(although written, respectively, in Cyrillic and Roman script). 

So — Simon is saying— you can't blame all civil conflict on the di- 
visive results on nontraditional immigration. Homogeneity is no 
guarantee against strife. 

All right, all right! For the record, let me admit (in fact, assert): 
you can't blame everything on immigration or on racial differences. 

But who said you could? The fact remains that the Yugoslav 
spectacle can only be seen as chilling — and as a Horrid Warning 
about current U.S. immigration policy. The differences between the 
Yugoslavs are indeed relatively minor — certainly compared to the 
differences between the American nation of 1965 and the immi- 
grants who are now arriving. And that's the point Those minor dif- 
ferences were still enough to tear the country apart. 

I've never doubted Simon's debating skills, and this episode left 
me with even greater respect for his ingenuity. 

I just worry about whether he's right. 


Of course, our follow-up question, about whether multiracial socie- 
ties work, is a fairly shocking one. 

It's actually much more shocking than the original question — 
why do the immigration enthusiasts want to transform America? 
No one ever thinks to ask that. But asking about whether multira- 
cial societies work is quite obviously a direct challenge to America's 
recently established religion. And, since America has been biracial 
since Colonial times, it appears to imply a pessimistic view of the 
prospects for black-white harmony — the greatest problem of Amer- 
ican life (until the post- 1965 immigration). 

But there's a plain fact to be considered: the evidence that multi- 
racial societies work is — what shall we say? — not very encouraging. 

There have, of course, been multiracial societies (strictly speak- 
ing, usually multiethnic) in the past. Famous examples are the 
Roman Empire, or the Arab Caliphate, which briefly ruled from 

125 SO WHAT? 

Spain to Samarkand in the name of Muhammad. But these were 
old-fashioned despotisms, not modern democracies. And, even so, 
ethnic divisions still kept surfacing. The ancestors of the modern 
Iranians repeatedly rebelled against Arab rule, although they 
tended to justify their revolts in terms of a convenient Islamic 

Heterogeneous empires that lasted, such as the Eastern Roman 
Empire of Byzantium, which survived until 1453, were generally 
based on a core ethnic group — distinctly like our old friend, the "ra- 
cial hegemony of white Americans." In the case of Byzantium, for 
instance, this core group was Greek. 

In modern times, there has been a lot of seductive murmuring 
about internationalism, united nations, new world orders, and so 
on. But, meanwhile, the role of ethnicity and race has proved to be 
elemental — absolute — fundamental. Look at the record, working 
back from the present: 

• Eritrea, a former Italian colony ruled by Ethiopia since 1952, re- 
volt begins in 1960s, finally splits off 1993. 

• Czechoslovakia, founded 1918, splits into Czech and Slovak ethnic 
components, 1993. 

• Soviet Union, founded 1922, splits into multiple underlying ethnic 
components, 1991. (Some of the underlying components are them- 
selves promptly threatened with further ethnic fragmentation — 
Georgia, Moldova.) 

• Yugoslavia, founded 1918, splits into multiple underlying ethnic 
components 1991. (An earlier breakup averted by imposition of 
royal dictatorship, 1929.) 

• Lebanon, founded 1920, progressive destabilization caused by its 
Muslim component's faster growth results in civil war, effective 
partition under Syrian domination, after 1975. 

• Cyprus, independent 1960, repeated violence between Greeks and 
Turks results in military intervention by Turkey, effective partition 
with substantial ethnic cleansing, 1974. 

• Pakistan, independent 1947, ethnically distinct eastern component 
rebels, splits off after Indian military intervention, 1971. 

• Malaysia, independent 1963, political conflict between ethnic 
Malays and Chinese, Chinese-dominated Singapore expelled, 


And these are just the cases where ethnic and racial differences 
have actually succeeded in breaking a country up. Many other cases 
are not yet resolved, because of often-bloody repression. 

Here's a partial list: India — protracted separatist revolts by 
Sikhs, Kashmiris, northeastern hill tribes. Sri Lanka — protracted 
separatist revolt by Tamils. Turkey, Iraq, Iran — separatist revolts 
by Kurds. Sudan, Chad— endemic warfare between Arab north, 
black south. Nigeria — secession of Ibo-majority "Biafra" crushed 
in 1967-70 civil war. Liberia — English-speaking descendants of 
freed American slaves overthrown by tribal forces 1981, civil war 
renders more than half the population refugees. Ulster — protracted 
campaign by members of province's Catholic Irish minority to 
force the Ulster Protestant ("Scotch-Irish") majority to accept its 
transfer to the Irish Republic. Some of these conflicts have been 
very violent — over 1 million deaths each in Nigeria and Sudan. 

And there's a whole further category of disputes that are being 
conducted, mostly, through political means. For example: Bel- 
gium — Flemish and Walloon; Canada — French and English; even 
Brazil — a movement in the predominantly white southern states 
Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Parand to separate from 
the mixed-race north. 

What a record! You would think it would inspire at least some 
caution about the prospects for multiethnic, multiracial, multicul- 
tural harmony within the same political framework. 

But you would be wrong. The recent record seems to have made 
very little impression on the American political elite. (Nor, to be 
fair, on the Canadian or Western European political elites either. 
Both have remained fanatical about their respective transnational 
federations.) Which suggests the sheer power of their will to believe. 
On this subject, wish has replaced thought. 

Indeed, despite all the failed federations and multiethnic mayhem 
of the past few decades, the most frequent reaction to any question- 
ing of the possibility of multiethnic harmony is still "What about 
Switzerland?" The recent record just doesn't count. 

OK, what about Switzerland? 

• Its ethnic groups, German, French, Italian and Romansh, are ra- 
cially identical and culturally very similar. 

127 SO WHAT? 

• The Swiss ethnic groups are fragmented into a number of small, 
separate political units called "cantons," each of which is firmly 
under that group's control. It's as if American whites, blacks, His- 
panics, and Asians all lived in and controlled several separate U.S. 
states. All but four of the twenty-six Swiss cantons and "half- 
cantons" are unilingual. 

• Religion cuts across ethnic lines. For example, during the debate 
that led to the creation in 1979 of a new French-language canton in 
the Jura region of the German-language Berne canton, the sub- 
stantial minority of French Protestants were notably less enthusi- 
astic than were the French Catholics. 

• In Switzerland as a whole, the German speakers safely predomi- 
nate. They constitute some 65 percent of Switzerland's population 
and control seventeen cantons. The French speakers, the next larg- 
est group, comprise less than 20 percent and control four of its 
cantons. Italian speakers, less than 15 percent, control one canton. 
Romansh speakers, about 1 percent, share the one trilingual can- 
ton. Three cantons are bilingual. 

• The Swiss ethnic balance has been stable. 

• And anyway, there was a Swiss Civil War (in 1847). Furthermore 
the establishment of the French-language canton in the Jura was 
preceded by years of minor, but nasty, terrorist violence. 

Conclusion: Switzerland is hardly a practical model for U.S. eth- 
nic policy. 



Sound gloomy? Not particularly. For two reasons: 

• ungloomy reason #1 : In politics, problems with no answers 
don't always have to be answered. Sometimes they can just be ac- 

There are circumstances in which people's differences can be forgot- 
ten, or at least contained. The United States has actually been quite 
good at getting moderately diverse irnmigrant groups to live to- 
gether. It was working on its black-white problem. 


But this relative American success did not amount to a Declara- 
tion of Independence from history. It depended on time, numbers, 
degree of difference . . . and, above all, on some very specific poli- 
cies, like "Americanization," which tended to swamp all difference 
with a common American civic culture. 

And these policies have now been largely abandoned. (For more 
on this, see Chapter 11, pages 216-19.) Still, they can be restored. 

• ungloomy reason #2: Most human impulses have good and 
bad applications. The impulse that causes men to go to war over 
their racial etc. differences is closely related to the impulse that 
causes them to protect and feed their families. 

The difficulties posed by human differences are depressing only if 
you find human nature itself unacceptable. Unfortunately, much of 
the American political elite does. So, through immigration, they in- 
sist on making the country's problems worse — quite unnecessarily. 

It's tempting to say that their passionate will to believe in the like- 
lihood of multiracial and multiethnic harmony is noble. At least, 
they say so themselves. Repeatedly. 

But what is so noble, or moral, about insisting on gambling the 
future of a nation on an immigration policy that reflects a patently 
flawed view of human nature? Particularly when the alternative pol- 
icy is perfectly practical and moral. 

Good fences do make good neighbors — in every sense of the 
word "good." (For more on the moral issues raised by immigra- 
tion, see Chapter 13.) 


Julian Simon keeps rather odd hours. As I understood it, he had to 
break up our dinner early in order to go home and sleep for a few 
hours. Then he planned to get up in the middle of the night and 

I still hadn't cornered him on the possibility of multiracial har- 
mony. As we moved toward the door, I tried again. 

129 SO WHAT? 

"What makes me think multiracial societies work?" he echoed. 
"Well, look at this restaurant." He waved his hand around vaguely. 
"It's French, the waiters are Indian, the customers ... it works OK, 
doesn't it?" 

Somehow, this didn't seem quite enough. 


Simon's answer, however, had better be enough. Because current 
immigration policy, as we saw in Chapter 3, is turning the United 
States into a multiracial society — not to mention a multilingual, 
multireligious and multicultural society — with extraordinary speed. 
To repeat: 

• There is no precedent for a sovereign country undergoing such a 
rapid and radical transformation of its ethnic character in the entire 
history of the world. 

The Modern Era 

The twentieth century is really the aftermath of the great European 
expansion that began around the time of the Renaissance in Italy 
some five hundred years earlier. In the rest of the world, this Euro- 
pean expansion established two main types of immigrant societies: 

• those in territory that was originally sparsely populated that are 
now essentially white. These are mainly, but not entirely, English- 
speaking. (The Argentine constitution of 1853, as amended in 
1957, says specifically that "the Government will promote and en- 
courage immigration from Europe." 7 ) 

• those in territories with substantial native populations. In Latin 
America, these tend now to be ruled by white elites of varying 
sizes, with much of the population of mixed blood. In Africa, the 
white elites have been overthrown; and the mixed-blood popula- 
tion is much smaller. Typically, all these societies have been un- 


In both types of immigrantoreated societies, the ethnic balance 
now seems relatively stable. Absolutely nothing comparable to the 
U.S. ethnic revolution is on the horizon. 

Both Australia and Canada began to admit Third World immi- 
grants in the 1960s, at about the same time as the United States. But 
they remain about 93 percent and 89-90 percent white respectively. 
In the nineteenth century, Brazil's whites did grow from about a 
quarter to above a half of the population because of immigration. 
But, as Brazil was run by a small white elite through all of this pe- 
riod anyway, it hardly mattered. 

(Immigration enthusiasts like to trap naive critics as follows: 
"The foreign-born populations of several European nations are higher 
than that of the United States. So there. " And it's true: for example, 
France had a 9.5 percent foreign-born population in 1993, com- 
pared with 8.9 percent in the United States. 

(But it's also deceptive. These countries usually do not have 
birthright citizenship, so children born to foreign residents are 
counted as foreigners, whereas the children of immigrants and tran- 
sients in the United States are counted as native-born citizens. 

(And many foreign-born populations in Europe are due to spe- 
cial circumstances, particularly the aftershocks of empire. The Brit- 
ish acquired most of their Caribbean and Indian populations by 
inadvertently defining their citizenship to include newly indepen- 
dent countries that were still members of the post-imperial "Com- 
monwealth." The French, apart from a similar post-imperial Third 
World influx, experienced an unusual immigration from Europe in 
the 1930s and also acquired over a million whites from the settler 
community in its former colony of Algeria in the 1960s. Germany 
automatically accepts the descendants of the historic German colo- 
nies in Eastern Europe and Russia — an echo of Israel's "Law of Re- 
turn," which offers citizenship to Jews throughout the world. And, 
of course, Germany suffered the asylum disaster of 1992-93, when 
an influx like that at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport [see 
page 27] reached an astonishing sixty thousand a month before the 
politicians dared to act. 

(Furthermore, what the immigration enthusiasts don't add is 
this: every Western European nation is officially committed to pre- 
venting further immigration.) 

131 SOWHAT? 

There are some modern examples of massive influxes by one eth- 
nic group into territory historically occupied by another. For exam- 
ple, Han Chinese have settled in Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, Tibet 
and East Turkistan; Russians have settled in Estonia, Latvia and 
elsewhere in the former Soviet Union; Bangladeshis (the former 
East Pakistanis) have settled in the Chittagong Hill Tract. 

But in all these cases, the influx was imposed on the resident pop- 
ulation by somebody else. In several cases, the influx was clearly 
intended to swamp the resident population. In some cases, it has led 
to serious strife. 

The Middle Ages 

Once we go back beyond the modern era, comparisons with the cur- 
rent U.S. situation become difficult. Medieval peoples were mostly 
illiterate peasants and medieval governments were autocratic. The 
relationship between the two was, well, feudal. 

But one medieval immigration is worth noting: the steady influx 
of Germans into Eastern Europe, particularly from the eleventh 
century to the fourteenth century. This movement was mostly 
peaceful. It was often actively encouraged by Slavic and other 
princes in the region, who hoped to benefit from the increased eco- 
nomic activity stimulated by German peasants and merchants. 
Thus King Otakar II of Bohemia — heartland of the Czech- 
speaking Slavs — established more than sixty German cities in his 
realm between 1253 and 1278. 

But, however much it added to princely coffers in the short 
run, this immigration did result in the outright Germanization of 
much previously Slav territory. Eventually, it was Hitler's effort to 
incorporate this territory into his Third Reich that triggered World 
War II. 

The Ancient World 

In some ways, the nearest thing to a precedent for today's world in 
motion appears to be the famous Volkerwanderung— the great 
"movement of peoples" in the fifth century that saw Germanic 
tribes overrun the Western Roman Empire. Europe as we know it 


was shaped by these invasions. Historic names like England, 
France, Burgundy, Lombardy — all derive from these areas' Ger- 
man conquerors in this period. 

Just as the current influx seems likely to do in the United States, 
this Germanic influx appears to have produced considerable ethnic 
change in some areas, for example in England. Just as in the United 
States today, this was magnified by demographic trends within the 
Roman Empire — population was declining, partly because exces- 
sive taxation had resulted in economic stagnation. 

And, just as in the United States today and in Eastern Europe 
during the Middle Ages, the Germanic influx was connived at, to 
some extent, by the authorities. Rome repeatedly allowed tribes to 
settle on lands within her frontier as foederati — allies — sometimes 
at the expense of the Roman citizens already living there. 8 In return 
for these lands, the foederati were supposed to accept Rome's over- 
lordship and come to its defense. 

Remember this if you ever corner an immigration enthusiast 
about historical precedents. They tend to get tricky when (under- 
standably) desperate. 

For example, Time's April 9, 1990, cover story on what it called 
"The Browning of America" uncomfortably acknowledged that 
there essentially is no precedent for a successful multiracial society. 
But it quickly supplied an ingenious, if ludicrously flimsy, excuse 
for complacency. 

". . . comparisons are flawed," it argued, because the United 
States was not created by conquest but by "voluntary immigra- 
tion." The point, presumably: all the multiple races must really 
want to be American, and this will hold society together. (What 
about illegal immigrants — will they retain their contempt for U.S. 
law? Time didn't say.) 

Well, the German foederati immigrated to Rome voluntarily. 
Unfortunately, they just didn't stay loyal very long. 

But there are differences between the Volkerwanderung and 
today's immigration. Despite theimpressiongivenbyunderstandably 
depressed Roman historians, the numbers of Germans were relatively 
much smaller than today's Third World overhang. There were per- 
haps 31 million people in all of Europe— and somewhere up to 
three quarters of them were subjects of Rome. In what is now Ger- 

133 SO WHAT? 

many, there were only an estimated 3.5 million Germans. The Ger- 
man war bands averaged around 80,000, of whom only perhaps 
20,000 were warriors. 

The German demographic impact was significant where invasion 
could be followed up by continued immigration. But, overall, it 
supplemented rather than swamped the existing population. 9 

Additionally, of course, the Germans were Western Europeans. 
They were virtually identical to the populations they conquered and 
with whom, in most cases, they proceeded quickly to merge. 

Conclusion: the current U.S. situation really is unprecedented, 
even by comparison with the Volkerwanderung. 

Oh, and there's a final point: 

Rome fell. 







Now looking ahead to the twenty-first century — this is my social 
work coming out in me now — in the twenty-first century, and that's 
not far off, [minority] racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. will out- 
number whites for the first time. The browning of America will 
alter everything in society from politics and education to industry, 
values and culture. . . . And as I talk with the faculty and the staff 
here at Ripon they're aware of this and they're helping prepare for 


lecturer, School of Social Work and Indian Studies, University of 

Wisconsin at Madison, and former chair of the Menominee Indian 

tribe, Clinton administration nominee for Assistant Secretary of Indian 

Affairs, in her commencement address to Ripon College, May 15, 1993 

Ripon, Wisconsin, is the site of the Republican party's 
founding in 1854 and heart of an area that is currently 98 
percent white. Nevertheless, Ada Deer, cited above, was 
apparently able to talk its credulous college teachers into "helping 
prepare" for something that may never happen. 

(Er — what, exactly, does Ms. Deer mean by "prepare"? 
Well, the Associated Press reported her adding that "everyone in 
the hemisphere should know Spanish.") 

As we have seen, however, there is no certainty at all that 
minorities will "outnumber whites" in the twenty-first century. 
That can occur only in one extraordinary circumstance: if massive 
Third World immigration is allowed to continue at its current un- 
precedented rate. 

Ms. Deer is right about one thing, however. The ethnic 


shift brought about by such immigration would indeed inevitably 
"alter everything in society." 

Multicultural enthusiasts happily proclaim this vital point at the 
very time that immigration enthusiasts are trying to play it down. In 
the symposium in response to my National Review cover story, 
Julian Simon even proposed "a general theory" — 

. . . explaining why immigrants have had so little noticeable effect on 
American life patterns. The pattern of civic life remains what it was 
before a wave of immigration, unless the immigrants are greater in 
numbers or riches than the prior residents. The chances that any im- 
migrants into the U.S. will meet these conditions is nil. 1 

As we have seen, of course, if immigration is allowed to continue, 
the post-1965 immigrants and their descendants are likely to out- 
number pre- 1965 Americans in large areas of the United States. 
And it is quite possible that some groups, perhaps the Cubans of 
Miami and the Asians of California, will be wealthier— just like the 
Jews of New York have become. 2 

But the "general theory" is, well, distinctly divorced from reality 
anyway. Nearly half a century ago, the philosopher Richard 
Weaver published a book the title of which convinced many Ameri- 
cans, at least in the conservative movement: Ideas Have Conse- 
quences. Similarly, if they consider the evidence fairly, they cannot 
evade a further truth: Immigration Has Consequences — especially in 
their own, much-blessed country. 


"The business of America is business," President Calvin Coolidge 
once famously remarked. Many of his countrymen still wince at his 
crassness. But, curiously, when asked about immigration, they very 
quickly start talking about economics. 

Even many immigration critics have been muscled into assuming 
unquestioningly that the economic consequences of immigration 
must necessarily be good. They just try to block. ("There's more to 
a country than its gross national product.") Then they change the 
subject to issues like culture, crime and crowding. 


Quite right, too. There is indeed much more to a country than its 
GNP. But GNP matters — particularly in a society like America, 
which has tended to justify itself because of its material success. 

And the assumption that there are vast and vital economic bene- 
fits from mass immigration deserves to be questioned. Typical of 
the one-way U.S. immigration debate, it turns out to be a myth. Put 
it this way: 

• For the United States, immigration is not an economic necessity. It is 
a luxury. And like all luxuries, it can help — or it can hurt. 

You can see why many people assume immigration must be 
economically beneficial. Just as they tend to think that the sudden 
mushrooming of minorities in the United States is a natural phe- 
nomenon, they also assume vaguely that immigration must have 
been ratified by some sort of free-market process. Immigrants must 
be moving to wherever their labor is best rewarded, as Americans 
do within the United States. It must be part of what economists call 
the "efficient allocation of resources." 

"You have to accept the free movement of people if you believe in 
free trade/free markets. " You do? It's a more radical proposition 
than appears at first sight. Third World populations are very large 
and their wage levels very low — Mexican wages are a tenth of those 
north of the border, and Mexico is relatively advanced. So calcula- 
tions of the market-clearing wage in a United States with open im- 
migration necessarily imply that, even with capital accumulation 
and productivity gains, it must be some fraction of its present level. 

This arrangement might optimize global economic utility. But it 
can hardly improve American social harmony. 

However, a calculation of this sort requires impossible assump- 
tions. The fact is that a belief in free markets does not commit you 
to free immigration. The two are quite distinct. Even Julian Simon, 
although he favors immigration, says explicitly that "contrary to 
intuition, the theory of the international trade of goods is quite 
inapplicable to the international movement of persons." 3 

In fact, on a practical level, free trade tends to operate not as a 
complement for immigration but as a substitute. If you have free 
trade, you don't need immigration. 


Hence the Japanese have factories in the Philippines rather than 
Filipinos in Japan. Victorian Britain, with its foreign policy of 
"splendid isolation" from the quarrels of Europe, combined total 
free trade with almost no immigration, a policy that satisfied Lib- 
eral "Little Englander" isolationists and Tory Imperialist global in- 
terventionists alike. And in 1993 a popular argument for the North 
American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico was that it would 
help reduce the current immigrant flood by providing alternative 
employment south of the border. 

(However, "free-trade negotiations" — a paradox: what's to ne- 
gotiate? — often get captured by political elites seeking to skew 
things in favor of contributors and constituencies. There's a nasty 
possibility this might have happened with NAFTA. Early rumors 
were that it would lead to an increase in immigration, absurdly, be- 
cause of its inevitable short-term dislocation of the Mexican econ- 
omy. Apparently, the American negotiators were prepared to 
tolerate this in their eagerness to see Mexico rapidly remove agri- 
cultural price supports and other barriers to powerful U.S. export 

"You have to accept the free movement of people ..." Oh, yeah? 
You mean completely open borders? 

Even immigration enthusiasts gulp at this. Except The Wall 
Street Journal editorial-page editors under their intrepid leader 
R. Bartley. They periodically suggest it as a constitutional amend- 
ment: "There shall be open borders." 4 

Julian Simon has quietly declined to go this far. And it's impor- 
tant to note why. 

Firstly, he says (quite rightly) that the numbers and type of po- 
tential immigrants is unknown. So he would prefer to raise immi- 
gration step by step, to see what happens. But, secondly, he is 
concerned about what he calls "negative human-capital externali- 
ties, " Most immigrants have lower skill levels than natives, he ac- 
knowledges. If enough of them were to arrive, they could 
overwhelm and render less effective the higher skills of the natives. 

In other words, if there is a huge flood of immigrants from Back- 
wardia to Richonia, Richonia will become economically similar to 
Backwardia, with loss to Richonians and little gain to immigrants 


from Backwardia. ... So even if some immigrants are beneficial, a 
very large number coming from poorer countries . . . may have the 
opposite effect. 5 

This is a crucial theoretical concession. It means that there is a 
point at which intervention to stop immigration is justifiable on eco- 
nomic grounds — not just because there's a backlash from the 
dreaded nativists. 

Of course, Simon insists that immigration levels could be much 
higher than at present. But Richonians in California, Florida and 
New York City might not agree. 


Needless to say — and not for the first time — this discussion of im- 
migration in principle has little to do with immigration in practice, 
as governed by the 1965 Immigration Act. Today, immigration to 
the United States is not determined by economics: it is deter- 
mined — or at least profoundly distorted — by public policy. Current 
U.S. immigration is not an economic phenomenon; it is a political 

As we saw in Chapter 4, pages 78-84, the effect of the 1965 re- 
form has been to uncouple legal immigration from the needs of the 
U.S. economy. A low point was reached in 1986, when less than 8 
percent of over 600,000 legal immigrants were admitted on the basis 
of skills — of whom about half were accompanying family members. 

The 1990 Immigration Act was allegedly designed in part to rec- 
tify this situation. But in 1992, only 13 percent of the 914,000 non- 
IRCA legal admissions were employment-based — of whom half 
were accompanying family. Most legal immigrants, 55 percent, en- 
tered under the law's various "family reunification" provisions. 
And this proportion does not include the accompanying family 
members of humanitarian or "diversity" immigrants. 6 

Of course, some of the family-reunification immigrants will have 
skills. But it is purely an accident whether their skills are wanted in 
the U.S. economy. 



The family-reunification policy inevitably contributes to two 
striking characteristics of the post- 1965 flow: 

• Firstly: the post-1965 immigrants are, on average, less skilled than 
earlier immigrants. And getting even less so. As George Borjas put 
it in his Friends or Strangers: "The skill level of successive immi- 
grant waves admitted to the U.S. has declined precipitously in the 
past two or three decades." 7 (My italics — but you see the point.) 

• Secondly: the post-1965 immigrants unmistakably display more mis- 
matching between what they can do and what America needs. They 
seem not to be fitting as well into the economy as did earlier immi- 
grants. Instead, they are showing a greater tendency to become 
what used to be called a "public charge." 

Let's look at both of these characteristics (see Chart 13, below) in 
turn. 8 


Put another way, in 1970 the average recent immigrant had 0.35 less 
years schooling than native-born Americans. By 1990, the average 
recent immigrant had 1.32 years less schooling. 

(And note that "native" here includes American blacks and 

Chart 13 


High-school-dropout and college- 
graduation rates among native-born 
Americans and immigrants 





Natives Immigrants 

26.5% 26.4% 





Puerto Ricans. Both these groups systematically lag American 
whites in educational achievement. If we were to look only at na- 
tive-born, non-Hispanic American whites, average educational at- 
tainment might increase by as much as a year. Which makes the 
immigrant performance appear really grim.) 

"But everyone knows American education is going down the 
tube — a high school diploma just doesn't mean what it used to, " im- 
migration enthusiasts extemporize desperately. 

Maybe. But economists, in their unromantic way, view earnings 
as a proxy for skills. And the relative decline in immigrant educa- 
tion seems to be confirmed by the relative decline in their earnings 
that has occurred over the same period. 

In 1970, immigrants on average actually earned some 3 percent 
more than native-born Americans. (That slight inferiority in aver- 
age education was apparently counterbalanced, perhaps by higher 
average age.) But in 1990, this immigrant achievement had disap- 
peared: immigrants on average earned 16.2 percent less than native- 
born Americans. 

Examined more closely, the trend is even more alarming. In 1970, 
immigrants who had just arrived — within the previous five years — 
earned some 16.6 percent less than the native-born population. But 
by 1990, the gap had nearly doubled: immigrants who had arrived 
within the previous five years earned some 31.7 percent less than 

In other words, the decline in average immigrant earnings 
masked an even sharper deterioration in the earnings of the most 
recent immigrants. 

The evidence, George Borjas has concluded, no longer supports 
another of the immigration enthusiasts' favorite claims: "Immi- 
grants soon catch up with and outstrip native-born Americans in earn- 
ings' — thus proving what desirable citizens they are (at least 
economically). He says: 

My research indicates that if a particular immigrant cohort is tracked 
across Censuses, there is relatively little wage convergence between 
the immigrants and natives. Because more recent immigrant waves 
start off poorly, it is unlikely that the earnings of the "new immi- 
grants" will ever catch up with those of natives. In fact, the wage differ- 


ential between immigrants and natives may exceed 20 percent even 
after two or three decades after immigration. [My emphasis again.] 

Borjas, incidentally, thinks that the skill decline would have oc- 
curred even apart from the 1965 Immigration Act's preference for 
family reunification above skills. This is because of a paradox in the 
way the 1965 reform works: 

• Besides favoring "family reunification," the 1965 Act also allowed 
immigration from the Third World. And Third World countries 
typically have comparatively unequal income distributions. By 
contrast, First World countries, such as the welfare states of West- 
ern Europe, have relatively equal income distributions, reinforced 
by government policies that tax the rich and spend on the poor. 

So a skilled worker in the Third World has less incentive to emi- 
grate, relative to his unskilled countrymen — who have enormous in- 
centives. Whereas in egalitarian Western Europe, skilled workers 
have relatively more to gain by emigrating to the United States . . . 
if they could get in. 

Borjas's theory seems to work: First World immigrants are in- 
deed disproportionately skilled and successful. As he puts it, Third 
World immigrants tend to be "negatively selected. " 

Thus current immigration is tending to 

1. lower the average quality of the U.S. workforce; and 

2. stratify it, with the post-1970 immigrants tending to the bottom. 

Now look again at Chart 13. Some further comments: 

• The chart is (more accurately, was) bipolar. That is, it peaks at 
both extremes — immigrants cluster both at the low-skill end and 
at the high-skill end. 

This is why immigration enthusiasts have been able to get away 
with arguing that immigrants are more highly skilled than native- 
born Americans. It's true. They are. But they are also, simulta- 
neously, lower-skilled. 

You hear a lot about Ph.D. immigrants working in California's 


Silicon Valley computer complex. Just under 3 percent of recent im- 
migrants had Ph.D.s, as opposed to just over 1 percent of native- 
born Americans. But that's only, say, 30,000 immigrant Ph.D.s a 
year. And have you heard that surveys show some 10 percent of 
Mexican illegal immigrants (suggesting, say, 30,000 to 50,000 of the 
net illegal influx each year) were totally illiterate in any language? 9 

You haven't? Oh. 

Note also this: by 1990, the immigrant advantage in college gradu- 
ates had disappeared. This reflects the sharp relative deterioration in 
immigrant skills in the most recent years. It happened at the other, 
unskilled pole too: at various times in the 1980s the proportion of 
newcomers who had not graduated from high school was running 
in excess of 40 percent. 

• Chart 13 shows relative skills. Immigrants' education levels are im- 
proving in absolute terms (rather slowly, at the unskilled pole). 
But not as fast as the education levels of native-born Americans. 

"Immigrants have never been more educated, " immigration en- 
thusiasts sometimes argue. Maybe not. But in a rapidly develop- 
ing and increasingly competitive world, relative skill levels are 
what count 

"The 1890-1920 immigrants were fairly unskilled'* — although ac- 
tual illiterates were banned in 1917 — "and they did fine, didn't 
they?" (Well, not all of them, as a matter of fact — see Chapter 8.) 
You can immediately see the fallacy of this further favorite argu- 
ment of immigration enthusiasts if you think about the issue of the 
relative skill levels of native-born Americans and immigrants. 

Most people realize that the U.S. economy at the beginning of 
the twentieth century was much less skill-based. It could use labor- 
ers and sweatshop workers. But few people realize, in addition, that 
native-born Americans were, on average, much less skilled. 

For example, only 13.5 percent of the over-twenty-five adult pop- 
ulation had four or more years of high school in 1910. 10 The ideal 
that everyone should go through high school came surprisingly late 
in American history — really after World War II. 

So the contrast with unskilled immigrants was not as sharp as it is 


• Chart 13 shows proportions, not absolute numbers. Thus the pro- 
portion of immigrants in the United States who are unskilled is 
lower in 1990 than it was twenty years earlier. But, because the 
absolute number of all immigrants is higher, the absolute number 
of unskilled immigrants in the American workforce is higher too. 

Question: Why doesn't the United States just lop off the unskilled- 
immigrant pole? 

Answer: Good idea. Why don't you suggest it? 


The second striking characteristic of the post- 1965 immigrant flow: 
increased mismatching with the U.S. labor market. This shows up in 
immigrants' increasing tendency to go^on Welfare. 

In the early 1980s, immigration researchers were generally pretty 
complacent about immigration's impact on the United States. It be- 
came an article of faith, still echoed by some of the less alert immi- 
gration enthusiasts, that immigrants earned more, and went on 
welfare less, than native-born Americans. 

The reason for this complacency, of course: the researchers were 
looking at old data. It still substantially reflected the pre- 1965 im- 

By the early 1990s, the scene had changed completely. It was 
becoming clear that, among the post- 1965 immigrants, welfare par- 
ticipation rates were sharply higher. Immigrant welfare participa- 
tion was, on average, higher than native-born Americans (9.1 percent 
vs. 7.4 percent). And what's more, immigrant households on welfare 
tended to consume more, and increasingly more, than native-born 
households on welfare. (In 1970, 6.7 precent of all welfare cash bene- 
fits went to immigrants; in 1990, 13.1 percent.) Some immigrant 
groups, such as Dominicans (27.9 percent on welfare), were far 
above the welfare participation even of American-born blacks (13.5 

(And note that "welfare" means just cash programs like Aid to 
Families with Dependent Children, Supplementary Security In- 
come, and other general assistance — not non-cash programs like 



Food Stamps and Medicaid, for which there are no good numbers.) 
Even pro-immigration researchers like the Urban Institute, while 
downplaying immigrant welfare participation, have reported that 
the immigrant proportion of those people living in areas of concen- 
trated poverty had nearly tripled in twenty years, to over 10 percent 
in 1990. 

The Urban Institute's solution: more public spending — "to put it 
bluntly, [to] avert the formation of a new urban underclass." 11 

Question: Why not just cut out immigration? 

Answer: ????????????? 

Chart 14 (below) shows how George Borjas assessed the situa- 
tion, using data from the 1990 Census. 

Again, note that "natives" here includes American blacks and 
Puerto Ricans. Both are disproportionately heavy users of welfare. 
One estimate suggests that looking only at native-born, non- 
Hispanic American whites, might drop the welfare-participation 
rate by more than two percentage points, to somewhere above 5 
percent. 12 

Which makes the immigrant performance appear, once again, 
really grim. 

Chart 14 


Native-born and immigrant household 
welfare participation; proportion of total cash 
welfare payments going to immigrant households 




- Immigrants 


-:/;■, a 







^1 JH ; '*'i 

Wt r 'r 



And, as with immigrant skill levels, examining the welfare partic- 
ipation of just the most recent immigrants makes the trend more 
alarming. The 1990 Census reported that those arriving in the pre- 
vious five years were significantly more likely to be on welfare (8.3 
percent) than were their counterparts in 1970 (5.5 percent). 

Which is particularly interesting news. Because according to the 
law, legal permanent residents are liable to be deported as a "public 
charge" if they use public benefits during their first five years in the 
United States. But as a practical matter (look at the numbers!), the 
whole concept of a "public charge" has collapsed. Only some forty- 
one people were deported on these grounds from 1961 to 1982. At 
that point, the INS just stopped bothering to report the category 
separately. 13 

Similarly, U.S. authorities now make no real effort to enforce the 
guarantees given by the sponsors of any immigrants — not just refu- 
gees — who then become public charges. 

This passivity is unprecedented in American history. When immi- 
gration was handled by the states, prior to the 1875 Supreme Court 
ruling establishing federal jurisdiction, they legislated repeatedly 
and frantically to block European countries from dumping their 
"paupers" — potential welfare cases — in America. (Historians used 
to dismiss the Know Nothings' complaints about pauper-dumping 
as propaganda, but recent research has shown that they were, in 
fact, right. 14 ) 

In Massachusetts in 1639, the Pilgrims, who themselves had 
landed only nineteen years earlier, set fines for shipmasters who dis- 
charged criminals and paupers. Two centuries later, in 1839, after it 
had been discovered that three quarters of the residents of the New 
York municipal almshouse were foreign nationals, popular reac- 
tion forced the return of a number of Scottish paupers whose pas- 
sage had been paid by the city of Edinburgh and most of whom had 
arrived still wearing Edinburgh poorhouse uniforms. 15 

When the federal government took over immigration, its rigor- 
ous (if quick) screening process was partly to keep out likely public 
charges. At the height of the First Great Wave of immigration 
through Ellis Island, more than half of the 2 percent of arrivals sent 
back were potential charity cases. 16 


But even if the American authorities were enforcing the law, they 
would have to deal with rampant fraud. One indicator: an INS 
study found that 83 percent of illegal immigrants amnestied under 
IRCA had false Social Security numbers. 17 But local agencies are 
now essentially forbidden by confidentiality laws from reporting 
fraud to the INS. 18 

Similarly, the Internal Revenue Service makes no effort to pre- 
vent illegal aliens from receiving Earned Income Tax Credit re- 
funds, which are sometimes payable even if no income tax is due 
and can exceed two thousand dollars. Of course, the IRS computers 
often choke on those false Social Security numbers. If necessary the 
IRS will then assign a temporary number. 

Got to get that check in the mail! 19 

Unquestionably, the largest loophole in welfare-eligibility provi- 
sions, however, is the birthright-citizenship provision of the Four- 
teenth Amendment. Whole nations are coming through it. 

It works like this: the minor "citizen children" of illegal immi- 
grants have the full entitlements of American citizens — for exam- 
ple, to cash payments under the federal Aid for Families with 
Dependent Children (AFDC) program. Naturally, their illegal par- 
ents collect it for them. And, equally naturally, no U.S. government 
is going to deport the parents of an American citizen. So having a 
child in the United States gives the illegal immigrant a secure, 
taxpayer-funded foothold here. And when the child turns eighteen, 
it can sponsor the legal immigration of its relatives. 

Examining the group of immigrants arriving in the five years 
before 1970 reveals even more depressing news: welfare participa- 
tion actually increased the longer they were in the United States. 
Originally, their rate was 5.5 percent; the 1990 Census reported it at 
9.8 percent. All waves of immigrants show a similar drift. The con- 
clusion is unavoidable: immigrants are assimilating into the welfare 

Immigrants from different countries differ enormously in how 
likely they are to go on welfare. Cambodians and Laotians show 
astonishing welfare-participation rates — close to half (48.8 percent 
and 46.3 percent, respectively). Vietnamese are above a quarter 
(25.8 percent). 


The apparent reason for these extreme welfare-participation 
rates: many members of these groups are refugees. And refugees are 
immediately entitled to welfare. And it's addictive. 

Even after twenty years, refugees are still more likely to be on 
welfare than either native-born Americans or other immigrants. 
Even refugee groups that Americans think of as successful, such as 
the pre- 1980 non-Marielito Cubans or refuseniks from the former 
Soviet Union, in fact participate heavily in welfare (15.3 percent 
and 16.3 percent, respectively). 

One startling account of the refugee policy's consequences ap- 
peared in the April 1994 issue of Atlantic Monthly magazine. Au- 
thor Roy Beck reported that in the late 1970s, local church groups 
in Wausau, Wisconsin, sponsored some Hmong refugees from 
Southeast Asia. This began a typical chain migration, as the refu- 
gees sponsored their own relatives. 

Today, Hmong comprise almost a quarter of Wausau's elemen- 
tary school enrollment and could conceivably become a majority. 
Some 70 percent of the Hmong receive public assistance— sixteen 
times the average for native-born Americans in the county. (Spon- 
soring church groups must pledge to care for their guests only for 
thirty days.) Wausau school-district taxes are rising at three times 
the rate of neighboring districts with few immigrants; crime has 
become a problem; busing is a bitter political issue. 

Still, says county welfare official Phyllis A. Bermingham, "This 
was a rather sterile community, and we needed ethnic diversity." 20 

Unavoidable conclusion, looking at these numbers: 

• The post-1980 approach to refugees has created a catastrophe — even 
by the generally disastrous standards of immigration policy. 

Still, Borjas says, the refugee presence is not enough to account 
for the immigrant slide into welfare. That trend remains even after 
refugee households are factored out. (Non-refugee immigrants are 
7.8 percent into welfare, as opposed to native-born American par- 
ticipation of 7.4 percent.) 

And immigrants from different countries still differ sharply in 
their likelihood to go on welfare even when none are refugees. The 


basic pattern: immigrants from developed countries are signifi- 
cantly less likely to go on welfare (the United Kingdom, 3.7 percent; 
Germany, 4.1 percent) than immigrants from the Third World 
(Haiti, 9.1 percent; Mexico, 11.3 percent). 

Borjas's conclusion echoes that of the Urban Institute: a signifi- 
cant number of recent low-skilled immigrants now go to swell the 
ranks of the underclass. 

Question: Aren't immigrants supposed to be "young and healthy" 
[Julian Simon, "The Nativists Are Wrong," The Wall Street Journal 
August 4 1993]? Why are they on welfare at all? 

Answer: Address queries to J. Simon, do University of Maryland, 
College Park, MD 20742 



So the post- 1965 immigrants are less successful economically and 
more inclined to use welfare. Does that mean they are now taking 
more from the various levels of American government than they 
pay in taxes — that immigration is a net cost to the public purse? 

Immigration enthusiasts deny it vehemently. They are fighting a 
desperate battle to defend the proposition that, as Julian Simon put 
it in The Economic Consequences of Immigration, "an immigrant 
family is an excellent investment." 21 But they are clearly losing. 

In part, the immigration enthusiasts are being driven back by the 
sheer volume of horror stories slowly emerging from the local level. 
For example, in California, fully a third of all public assistance goes 
to immigrant-headed households. 

And Californians are reacting. Which is why the state's two 
Democratic senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, have 
spoken out against illegal immigration. And why, in mid-1993, Re- 
publican governor Pete Wilson launched perhaps the broadest chal- 
lenge yet made by an elected official to the immigration 
taboo — even advocating the abolition of birthright citizenship. 
(Ironically, as a U.S. senator, Wilson worked hard for the 1986 am- 


nesty for illegal immigrants favored by agricultural interests. But 
maybe that shows he's not prejudiced.)* 

Also in mid-1993, Donald Huddle, emeritus professor of eco- 
nomics at Rice University, published a report arguing that the net 
costs of immigration to government, including the welfare costs of 
native-born workers displaced by immigrants, exceeded $40 billion 
in 1992. 22 His work was fiercely attacked. But at least it got the de- 
bate going — at last. 

And the debate needs to get going. For example, I've several 
times had quoted at me this factoid: "Business Week says immi- 
grants pay $90 billion in taxes and get only $5 billion in services. " 
And the magazine did report that, in its July 13, 1993, cover story 
"The Immigrants: How They're Helping the U.S. Economy," a 
classic example of America's one-way immigration debate. 

The $5 billion, however, referred only to cash welfare benefits re- 
ceived by immigrants — not to other means-tested programs, like 
Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credits, housing subsidies, food 

More important, the $5 billion implicitly assumes that no immi- 
grant taxes should go to pay for the rest of the services provided by 
all levels of American government, from roads to defense. ("But 
those services would have to be provided anyway — immigrants' using 
them makes no difference, " say immigration enthusiasts. Tell that to 
drivers on Southern California's freeways.) 

But the factoid floats on. Clearly, it's what a lot of people want to 

George Borjas suggests that a back-of-the-envelope cost-to- 
government calculation should look like this: 

* This lack of prejudice helped Wilson to return from the political dead and be 
reelected in the 1994 midterm elections, an astonishing turnaround. Even more as- 
tonishing was the landslide victory of California's Proposition 187, an initiative 
designed to clamp down on illegal immigrants' access to taxpayer funding. Al- 
though 187 was immediately put on hold by a liberal judge — as presaged on page 
260 — its triumph in the face of the overwhelming opposition of the American po- 
litical and media elites makes it the most remarkable election result for many years 
(and that definitely includes the Republican capture of the House and Senate). 
This sort of intense popular sentiment confronts the political elite with a stark 
choice: they can bend, or they can break. But they cannot do nothing. 


• Assume immigrants are charged a proportionate "fair share" of 
all government expenditures. Assume also that they take the same 
proportion of non-cash benefits as cash benefits (13.1 percent). 
Thus in 1990, about 8.9 percent of government revenues are used 
to fund cash and non-cash programs. And in 1990, immigrants 
earned about $285 billion (net of welfare payments) and, combin- 
ing federal, state and local taxes, probably face an estimated 30 
percent tax rate. That adds up to some $85 billion in immigrant tax 
payments. So 8.9 percent of immigrants' $85 billion taxes ($7.6 bil- 
lion) can be set against their use of cash and other benefits (about 
$23.8 billion). Net cost to native-born American taxpayers: over $16 


Note that Borjas's calculation doesn't include the immense costs of 
educating immigrant children. A year for one student in the New 
York City public school system, for example, involves an average 
annual expenditure of nearly $7,400. 23 By comparison, the annual 
per capita national income of Mexico is about $4,000. In Haiti, it's 
just $320 per capita. 24 

Arguably, some of that cost will be paid back, as the immigrant 
children's skill levels are improved and they eventually earn more 
than they would otherwise have done. And, on the other side of the 
ledger, some immigrants arrive already educated and presumably 
benefit native-born Americans with their skills — although captur- 
ing much of the surplus in their own earnings. So the net impact of 
education costs is hard to figure out. 

But meanwhile, education costs money now. 

Note also that Borjas is not taking into account immigrants' pay- 
ments into the Social Security system. Which may seem surprising, 
because for many workers these payments now exceed income 
taxes. But (as with education) there's another side to the question: 
immigrants paying into the system also represent a future claim 
upon it. 

Amazingly, there have been no full-blown academic studies of 


the net impact of immigration on the Social Security system. But, 
since the median age of immigration is thirty, many immigrants will 
pay into the system for a much shorter period than will the native- 
born. Yet the benefits they receive will be substantially the same. If 
you work fifteen years, you receive only slightly less than for work- 
ing thirty years. So it looks ominous. 

"But immigrants are going to bail out the Social Security system!" 
This is a favorite claim of immigration enthusiasts. It works like 
this. Social Security is not really an insurance system: it's actually a 
direct hand-over, via the government, from working Americans to 
retired Americans. The benefits that retired Americans receive far 
surpass the value of their earlier payments. While working Ameri- 
cans far outnumber retired Americans, as they do while the Baby 
Boom generation is in the labor force, the system teeters in balance. 
But what happens when the Baby Boomers retire — and the succeed- 
ing Baby Bust generation is all that's available to support them? 

"IMMIGRANTS!" say the immigration enthusiasts. Of course, 
thpy are being irresponsible (not for the first time). What happens 
when the immigrants retire?— more immigrants? And the spectacle 
of poor young workers of color being taxed to support rich old 
white retirees is a social San Andreas Fault in English, Spanish or 
anyone's language. 

But (again not for the first time) the immigration enthusiasts' 
numbers don't add up. The Dallas-based National Center for Pol- 
icy Analysis has calculated that to keep payments constant and the 
Social Security payroll tax at current levels, the U.S. workforce 
would have to be doubled by immigration in less than three 
decades. Since parents will bring children, this could involve the de- 
parture of about half the nonelderly population of Latin America. 25 

There is, however, a third point in the cost-to-government debate 
on which everyone agrees: 

• Whatever the overall balance between immigrant taxes and costs, 
the impact on specific states and cities is severe. 

This is because many of the taxes that immigrants pay go to 
Washington — for example, their Social Security deductions — 


whereas the services they receive are paid for by the local commu- 

It's easy enough to argue that Washington must step in with 
money to repair the damage. But this almost certainly means fur- 
ther loss of control by the state governments, further erosion of the 
founding American principle of federalism in favor of centraliza- 
tion in Washington. 

This has already happened, dramatically, when the nation faced 
war against external enemies. 

But what enemy is America fighting now? 

Regardless of the academic argument, Wall Street, in its unideo- 
logical, money-grubbing way, has already made up its mind about 
this "excellent investment." And it's pulling back its snout. As the 
investment firm Sanford C. Bernstein commented tersely in down- 
grading the state of California's bond rating in 1991 : 

The primary reasons for the state's credit decline are above-average 
population growth and shifting demographics. . . . The degree 
of public assistance required by two of the fastest growing groups, 
Latinos and political/ethnic refugees (most of whom are 
Southeast Asians), is substantially higher than that of the general 
population . . , 26 

George Borjas has drawn the inevitable moral as well as it can be 

• A welfare state cannot afford the large-scale immigration of less 
skilled persons. 27 




I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself, I seem to 
have been only a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in 
now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordi- 
nary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. 


discoverer of the principle of gravity 

I can never read without emotion this quotation from Newton — 
despite his humility in it, one of the greatest scientific minds in 
history. For, of course, Newton was right. Inconceivable as it 
must have seemed just a few decades ago, Newtonian physics, upon 
which the entire Industrial Revolution was built, has been over- 
shadowed by Einstein and the theory of relativity. 
It's a Warning to us all. 

Just look at the American immigration debate. It has been 
playing, albeit rather ineffectually, with a smooth pebble — the issue 
of government bookkeeping. Yet this pebble is not only disgust- 
ingly technical; it's really quite trivial. Even Donald Huddle's es- 
timated $40 billion loss is small compared to the $6 trillion U.S. 
economy — less than six tenths of 1 percent. (Although, we should 


remember, it's certainly substantial when a few states and cities 
have to pay it all.) 

And this quibbling about bookkeeping is indeed causing us to 
overlook the ocean of truth. The immigration debate should not 
center on: What, if anything, is immigration costing the taxpayer? 
Instead it should be refocused as follows: 

• Is immigration actually necessary for economic growth? 

The answer, perhaps surprisingly, is: certainly not. Immigration 
does very little that the host country cannot achieve, possibly bet- 
ter, by other policies. 


What does "economic growth" mean anyway? Basically it can be 
viewed three ways: 

1. growth of overall national income — literally, any increase in the size of 
a country's output. Of course, if immigration increases the workforce 
at all, it must cause such an increase, even if it's just one immigrant 
mowing lawns. 

2. growth in national income per capita — increase per head of the popu- 
lation, including the new heads that have just immigrated. This could 
happen, for example, if all immigrants earned more than the national 
average ... as perhaps they might if they were just those Ph.D.s. Im- 
migration of this sort would be a real economic luxury. Government 
policy could easily arrange it. It just hasn't. 

3. growth of the national income received by native-born Americans — 
that is, the Americans already here increase their standard of living 
because of the presence of immigrants, even if the immigrants them- 
selves don't rise to the same level. 

Thus the American lawn-owner is happy to pay to have his lawn 
mowed. The lawn-mowing immigrant is happy too (presumably). 
And national output will rise by the amount of the wages he re- 


ceives. But national income per capita will fall — because those 
wages are far below the national average. 

Obviously, immigration that results in point 2, everyone getting 
richer on average, is the easiest to defend. And immigration that 
results in point 3, native-born Americans getting richer, is at least 
rational in economic terms. But it might be socially disturbing if it 
led to a racially distinct, lawn-mowing servant caste. 

Immigration that just results in point 1, some (possibly minimal) 
growth in overall output, is the most questionable. How much 
growth are we talking about anyway? One mowed lawn's worth? 
And why should native-born Americans put up with immigration 
at all if they themselves don't get significant— make that signifi- 
cant — benefits? 

Unfortunately, point 1, some (possibly minimal) growth in over- 
all output, is just about the only thing we can be sure that immigra- 
tion achieves. It does generate instant population growth. The host 
country can't achieve instant population growth by other policies. 
And an instantly larger population can be very useful if you are 
seizing a continent or fighting a war (at least before high-tech weap- 

Thus it's possible to imagine all kinds of awful things if the 
United States had not increased its population quickly in the late 
nineteenth century. Just think: the Southwest might have been reoc- 
cupiedby Mexico! 

But, from an economic standpoint, instantly acquiring more peo- 
ple is not so obviously useful. A country's living standard is ex- 
pressed by its output per capita, not just by its sheer output. The 
economies of Britain and China had about the same output in 
the early nineteenth century. But Britannia could afford to rule the 
waves while China was starving, because British output was fifteen 
times higher per capita than Chinese output. 

In short, just acquiring more people is not enough. In an increas- 
ingly technical age, what will count is not the quantity of people but 
their quality — and the quality of their ideas. 

This insight casts a stark new light on much American immigra- 
tion history. For example, Professor Richard A. Easterlin, writing 
in the Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, has argued 
that the vast immigration into the United States in the nineteenth 


century "probably did not alter substantially the growth of output 
per capita." 

The innovations that drove American economic growth such as 
mass production in manufacturing, Easterlin points out, were al- 
ready celebrated worldwide by 1850, when mass immigration was 
only just getting under way. In the next hundred years, both France 
and Germany outstripped the United States in per capita output 
growth. 1 

"Immigrants built America. " Well, not quite, as it turns out. The 
Colonial-stock Americans had things rolling along pretty well 
before mass immigration began. 

Still, the immigrants of the nineteenth century did contribute to 
the total size of the United States when it smashed onto the global 
scene during World War I. They did help fill the trenches of the 
Western Front. 

But what if large numbers of immigrants arrive who are far less 
skilled than the host population? Even if they enter the workforce 
smoothly and cause total output to grow, their greater numbers 
must cause output per head to fall. And if their marketable skills are 
minimal, and their entry is not smooth but causes social stress, it's 
possible that even total output may not grow much more than it 
would have anyway. Even, perhaps, less. 

• This is the specter haunting the United States in 2050 — that the 
American population may be 30 percent larger than ft would have 
been without immigration; but its overall national income may be 
little greater than it would have achieved anyway. 

Just spread thinner. Over a more strife-torn society. 

In fact, the specter may already be visible. As we have seen, immi- 
gration has exploded since 1965. But overall economic growth has 
slowed. The United States grew at an average rate of 4 percent in the 
immigrantless 1950s. In the quarter century from 1969 to 1993, with 
immigrants, its average growth rate has been just 2.5 percent. 2 

Which is not to say that immigration has hurt. But wasn't it sup- 
posed to help*? 



Oddly, American economists have made very little effort to mea- 
sure the overall economic benefits of immigration. But the answer 
seems to be clear: immigration doesn't contribute that much to eco- 
nomic growth. 

How much? George Borjas suggests another back-of-the- 
envelope calculation, using a standard applied-economics tech- 
nique called a "Harberger triangle." (It's too horrible to reproduce 
here, but appears in Appendix 5.) It's crude, but it makes possible a 
simple estimate of point 3, the growth of the national income of 
native-born Americans through immigration — the additional eco- 
nomic "surplus" generated by immigrants and accruing to native- 
born Americans. 

• In 1992, the economic surplus generated by immigrants and accruing 
to native-born Americans was very small: about one to three tenths 
of 1 percent of total U.S. economic output, or between $6 billion 
and $18 billion. 

That's 0.2 or 0.3 percent! In an economy whose long-run average 
annual growth is about 2 percent anyway!! Within the normal mar- 
gin of error for economic projections— m it may be, for practical 
purposes, infinitesimal!!! 

And even if this economic surplus exists, other policy measures 
could potentially generate far more. For example, the Environmen- 
tal Protection Agency has estimated that federal clean-air and 
clean-water regulations alone depressed U.S. GNP below the level 
where it would otherwise have been — what economists call the "op- 
portunity cost" — by no less than 5.8 percent in 1990. 

Of course, we need clean air and clean water. But if they can be 
achieved more efficiently — and there is evidence that they can be — 
the potential economic benefits are enormous. 3 

Another point: 

• If immigration is indeed causing a net loss to taxpayers of $16 bil- 
lion — as George Borjas estimates — that means its economic effects 
are neutral. It's a wash!!! 


America is being transformed for — nothing? 
Yep. That's what it looks like. 

However, note that this Borjas back-of-the-envelope calculation 
has a subtle but ugly implication: 

• The overall economic surplus generated by immigrants and accruing 
to native-horn Americans might be very small — but immigration 
might still be causing a significant redistribution of income within 
the native-born American community. 

This happens because the small amount by which immigrants 
drive down the wages for all American workers, nationwide, adds 
up to a sizeable sum — which goes to American owners of capital. 
Borjas estimates it could be 2 percent of GNP, or as much as 
$120 billion. It's a technical argument that you can inspect in 
Appendix 5. 

However, this is the ugly implication: the American elite's sup- 
port for immigration may not be idealistic at all, but self-interested 
— as a way to prey on their fellow Americans. 

"But what about that poll from the de Tocqueville Institution show- 
ing that all reputable economists favor immigration?' 9 The Arlington, 
Virginia-based immigration enthusiast think tank did indeed pub- 
lish a 1990 poll of "38 leading U.S. economists, including seven 
Nobel laureates," of whom 80 percent opined that twentieth- 
century immigration has had "a very favorable impact" on U.S. ec- 
onomic growth. Almost two thirds thought increased immigration 
would increase U.S. living standards. 

And this certainly is an interesting result. Is it because economists 
are part of the elite benefiting at the expense of their fellow Ameri- 
cans? Say it ain't so! 

A kinder interpretation: the economists were being asked about 
immigration in principle, which we have seen is quite a different 
matter than immigration in practice, as it has developed after the 
1965 Act. 

Moreover, economists (contrary to the general view) are 
human — up to a point. They can be swayed by the same passions as 
everyone else. And immigration is a subject that much of the Amer- 
ican elite gets emotional about. Similarly, polls of economists have 


been known to give the wrong technical answer to questions about 
rent control, because rent control is often a sacred cow to the sort of 
political parties that academics tend to favor. 

Nevertheless, a small immigration surplus is exactly what you 
would expect given the logic of applied economics. And, when cor- 
nered in their professional mode, even pro-immigration economists 
like Julian Simon quickly admit that immigration is not, in fact, 
necessary for the American economy at all. (See below!) 


There's an irony here. Immigrant enthusiasts often boast: "Most 
studies show that American workers' wages have been driven down 
only very slightly by competition from immigrants. " And that's basi- 
cally true — as yet. (There's evidence that the impact on wages of the 
First Great Wave of immigration in 1890-1920 began to show up 
much more strongly as time passed, stimulating the labor-union ag- 
itation that helped bring about the Great Restriction. 4 ) 

But it's exactly because wages have not been driven down that 
Borjas's Harberger calculation reports such minimal overall eco- 
nomic benefits. 

• The formal economic logic of immigration is that only if wage 
rates are driven down — meaning that American owners of capital 
can hire workers more cheaply and make an increased profit for 
themselves— can the economy derive an overall benefit. 

That increased profit is the basic way in which native-born Amer- 
icans are supposed to benefit from immigration. If it can't be shown 
to exist, then native-born Americans are just not benefiting. 

In other words, the very wage stability that helps the immigration 
enthusiasts' political argument also works to undermine their eco- 
nomic argument. 

Naturally, immigration enthusiasts have trouble accepting this. 
They are shocked to hear that the gains from immigration are so 
trivial. Particularly if they live in New York or California, where its 


effects are very visible. How can it be? they ask. And they start tell- 
ing stories about immigrant entrepreneurs. 

Well, you can fit a lot of Korean convenience stores, and even 
Silicon Valley electronics firms, into $6 billion to $18 billion. 

(Indeed, even if immigrants ran the entire computer industry, soft- 
ware and hardware, that would account for only just over 2 percent 
of GNP— some $120 billion annually. 5 ) 

And remember, because of the one-way American immigration 
debate, anecdotes about immigrants on welfare, in jail or in the hos- 
pital at public expense don't get really equal time. 

Ironic evidence in support of Borjas's back-of-the-envelope cal- 
culation: a study by two Julian Simon-sympathizing economists. 
They argued that, by 1912, immigration since 1790 had generated 
social savings that had increased the capital stock of the United 
States by between 13 and 42 percent, depending on the discount 
rate used. (The lower is more likely.) 

Sounds like a lot? They thought so too. But, by their own calcula- 
tions, it would have taken the U.S. economy only five to eighteen 
years more to achieve the same capital stock if there had been no im- 
migration at all Hardly "building America" — in fact a shockingly 
small increment, given the magnitude of the population movement 
involved. 6 

Other immigrant countries have similar stories: 

• Canada. A 1991 study by the very establishment Economic Coun- 
cil of Canada modeled the effects of doubling gross immigration to 
Canada from the average of the past twenty-five years to an an- 
nual 1 percent of the current population (equivalent to 2.5 million 
immigrants a year entering the United States). Result: "very 
small" gains — an infinitesimal increase in economic growth that 
by the year 20 1 5 would increase native-born Canadians' per capita 
income only by about 1.4 percent above where it would otherwise 
have been. 

And most of that projected gain would come from the economies 
of scale possible in a larger market — an effect which, the Economic 
Council pointed out, will be achieved through the 1988 Free Trade 
Agreement with the United States anyway. 


Significantly, the Economic Council went ahead and recom- 
mended increasing immigration anyway, saying it would "make 
Canada a more interesting and exciting society." Even Canadian 
economists are human. 7 

• Australia. A 1985 study by the Committee for Economic Develop- 
ment of Australia found that immigration had no clear beneficial 
effects on output per capita at all. 

Again, the Australian study noted tersely that it "at no stage sup- 
posed that immigration was the best or only means of securing the 
results that are reputed to flow from it." 8 

And, really, it makes sense, when you think about it, that immi- 
gration would have only a minimal effect on economic growth. 
After all, the U.S. economy is huge and deeply capitalized. Immi- 
grants make up only just over 9 percent of the workforce. And the 
contribution of labor is itself only a relatively small element in eco- 
nomic growth (see below). So the role of immigrant labor must ob- 
viously be minor — without even considering the fact that so many 
immigrants are now unskilled. 

Trying to boost economic growth through immigration is, to 
borrow a phrase from another economists' quarrel, like pushing on 
a string. 

THE [????] FACTOR 

Why is labor only a small element in economic growth? 

Audiences always burst out laughing at one apparently gagless 
scene in the 1985 hit movie Back to the Future: the time-transported 
hero drove up to a gas station in the 1950s, and an army of uni- 
formed attendants leaped forth to pump the gas, clean his wind- 
shield, fill his tires, polish his hubcaps, offer him maps and so on. 

The joke was in the shock of self-recognition. It was only yester- 
day — and yet completely forgotten, so accustomed is everyone now 
to self-service. 


"We need immigrants to meet the looming labor shortage! do the 
dirty work Americans won't do. " This further item from the immi- 
gration enthusiasts' catechism seems to be particularly resonant for 
American conservatives, deeply influenced by libertarian ideas and 
open, somewhat, to the concerns of business. 

But it has always seemed incongruous, given persistent high lev- 
els of unemployment among some American-born groups. These 
groups, after all, obviously eat. Unless they are all criminals, they 
must be living on government transfer payments. Public policy is 
subsidizing their choosiness about work, thus artificially stimulat- 
ing the demand for immigrants. 

And if there is a looming labor shortage — hotly disputed — it 
could in theory be countered by "natalist" policies. That is, Ameri- 
cans could be encouraged to step up their below-replacement birth- 
rate. Even the current high immigration inflow is exceeded by the 
1.6 million abortions in the United States each year. Arguably, 
some of those abortions are due to economic worries that govern- 
ment could relieve. 

Examples of natalist policies: the tax deduction for a dependent 
child could be increased. In 1950, this exempted the equivalent of 
$7,800 in 1992 dollars from federal income tax. Now, after forty 
years of inflation, it exempts only $2, 1 00. 

Or the "marriage penalty" — by which two individuals living to- 
gether pay less tax than a married couple — could be abolished. Or 
something could be done to reduce the crushing costs of educating a 

(Or — immigration could be reduced. There is some evidence that 
economic insecurity, for example the insecurity caused by job com- 
petition, motivates people to restrict family size. 9 So, if immigration 
increases job competition, particularly for entry-level jobs, it could 
be indirectly suppressing the reproduction of native-born Ameri- 
cans. Ironically, this echoes the "Walker Thesis" that immigrants 
tend to replace rather than reinforce the native population — an ar- 
gument made during the First Great Wave of Immigration and 
much-denounced ever since. 10 ) 

Note carefully: I'm not advocating natalist policies, necessarily. I 
merely point out that they are the more normal response of nations 


worried that their populations are not growing fast enough. 11 It's an 
interesting question why the American political elite prefers to im- 
port foreigners. 

But Back to the Future makes a more fundamental point about 
economics: labor is not an absolute. Free economies are infinitely 
ingenious at finding methods, and machinery, to economize on 
labor or any other scarce resource. 

The implicit assumption behind the popular economic argument 
for immigration appears to be something like this: 


So, for any given capital stock, any increase in labor (putting aside 
the question of its quality) must result in some significant increase 
in output. 

This assumption is just wrong. "However surprising it may seem 
to laymen, capital and labor are relatively minor as factors of pro- 
duction," I was told in an interview by the famous British develop- 
ment economist Professor Peter Bauer (created a peer by Prime 
Minister Margaret Thatcher, with the title of Lord Bauer of Market 
Ward). "For example, the work of Simon Kuznets [such as his 
Modern Economic Growth: Rate, Structure and Spread] showed that 
increases in capital and labor together accounted for no more than 
10 percent of the West's increase in output over the last two hun- 
dred years, and possibly less. 12 The balance was caused by technical 
innovation — new ideas." 

Although it has been ignored in the current immigration debate, 
there is an entire "Accounting for Growth" industry among applied 
economists that attempts to isolate and measure the causes of eco- 
nomic growth. Invariably, it finds that increases in labor and capital 
together account for at most half, and often much less, of increases in 

The rest seems to be attributable to changes in organization — to 
technological progress and ideas. Or: 


And [???] is dominant. 
Back to the Future illustrates this process in action. On the face of 


it, gas stations have simply substituted capital (the self-service 
pumps) for labor (gas jockeys). But actually what has happened is 
more complex: the cost of making the pumps, and of designing the 
computer system behind them, is far exceeded by the savings on 
labor, which extend indefinitely into the future. It is reorganization 
that has resulted in a permanent increase in productivity. 

Or think about that lawn-mowing immigrant. If he were not 
around, maybe local kids would organize lawn-mowing services. 
Maybe better lawn mowers would be invented. Or maybe house 
owners would stop demanding their very own putting greens and 
adopt gardening styles better suited to local conditions — desert 
flowers in the Southwest, for example. It would save on water 
bills too. 

And it's happened before. When British aristocrats began to run 
short of gardeners in the late nineteenth century, they substituted 
perennial flowers for annuals and invented the herbaceous bor- 
der — now recognized as one of the glories of what Noel Coward 
hymned as "The Stately Homes of England." 

From an economist's standpoint, the factors of production are not 
absolutes. They are a fluid series of conditional interacting relation- 

This insight won Julian Simon one of the famous debating victo- 
ries of recent years. In 1980, he bet Paul Ehrlich, the well-known 
environmentalist commentator and Stanford University entomolo- 
gist whom we met earlier, that several commodities Ehrlich claimed 
were running out would, in fact, be lower in price in 1990, the econ- 
omy having adjusted in the meantime. They were, and Ehrlich had 
to pay up. 

But, paradoxically, when it comes to immigration, Simon seems 
to revert to a classic non-economic view: labor is good, more labor 
is better. 

The economist's view of labor has influenced the current immi- 
gration debate only in (as usual) one direction. It is triumphantly 
produced by the immigration enthusiasts to refute an assumption 
often made by unwary critics of immigration: that native-born 
workers must inevitably be displaced by immigrants coming in and 
taking their jobs. 

Which does seem plausible, right? After all, because British-born 


Harold Evans is the president and publisher of Random House, 
whose imprint is on this book, a native-born American is not. 

But in fact studies of the workplace both in the United States and 
other immigrant-receiving countries rarely detect increased unem- 
ployment among the native-born. (One exception: Donald Hud- 
dle's surveys of Texas construction workers, part of his estimate of 
immigration's fiscal burden — see Chapter 7, page 152. Naturally, 
these are disputed.) 

The apparent reason: the native-born aren't displaced, necessar- 
ily, in aggregate, because the economy adjusts. And because the in- 
crease in the factors of production tends to create new 
opportunities. "Immigrants not only take jobs," writes Julian 
Simon, "they make jobs." 13 

In other words, Harry Evans's superior publishing decisions gen- 
erate more sales and more enlightenment for Random House and 
for American society. 

All right. But missing from the current immigration debate is the 
fact that this effect operates in the other direction too. On the mar- 
gin, the economy is probably just as capable of getting along with 
less labor. 

Within quite wide boundaries, any labor-supply change can be 
swamped by the much larger influence of innovation and techno- 
logical change. 

The economy's use of more or less labor is like the early automo- 
bile manufacturers' use of paint when they decided to break with 
Henry Ford's practice and allow customers a choice of colors. 
Labor doesn't matter a lot: paint doesn't cost a lot. But, in other 
respects, sociologically and perceptually, they sure make a differ- 


The [???] factor is the explanation for the great counterexample 
hanging like the sword of Damocles over the immigration enthusi- 
asts' polemics: the extraordinary economic success of Japan since 
World War II. Despite its population of only 125 million and virtu- 


ally no immigration at all, Japan has grown into the second-largest 
economy on earth. GDP (Gross Domestic Product — the measure 
of an economy's size preferred by some international agencies) is up 
nearly ten times since 1955, and is now about perhaps half that of 
the United States, which has barely tripled in the same period (see 
Chart 15, page 170). 

The way immigration enthusiasts have handled the Japanese 
counterexample tells you a lot about the one-way American immi- 
gration debate: they ignore it. Americans, after all, worry a lot about 
Japan. Acres of books have been published about How the Japanese 
Do It. (Is it management? social organization?) But no attempt is 
ever made to look for lessons in Japan's immigration policy. 

Incredibly, although his book is called The Economic Conse- 
quences of Immigration, Julian Simon does not mention the Japa- 
nese experience at all. Directly asked about it in 1990 by Forbes 
magazine's Jim Cook, he in effect struck out. "How Japan gets 
along I don't know," he said. "But we may have to recognize that 
some countries are sua generis. " 14 

In the early 1990s, the Japanese economy has been having some- 
thing of a hiccup, by Japan's standards. The reasons have nothing 
to do with immigration. Perhaps it won't recover (although don't 
bet on it). But the fact that Japan already grew so fast for so long 
without immigration proves: It Can Be Done. 

Still, some immigration enthusiasts cling to the hope that 
Japan must now rejoin the human race and allow immigration . . . 
mustn't it? 

Not any time soon, judging by the recent reaction of an anony- 
mous Japanese consular official in New York when asked about the 
procedures for immigrating to Japan and obtaining Japanese citi- 

anonymous Japanese official [complete surprise and astonish- 
ment]: "Why do you want to emigrate to Japan? . . . There is no im- 
migration to Japan. [Asked if there aren 't political refugees or asylum 
seekers.] There might be three people a year who become Japanese. 
[Chuckles.] And even they don't stay long, they try to emigrate else- 
where, like the U.S." 



Chart 15 

Permanent resident aliens 
as percentage of population 

10 - 

Japanese and U.S. GNP 
(both indexed to 1955=100) 













1990 1993 


(In 1992, incidentally, almost 11,000 immigrants from Japan en- 
tered the United States — about twice the recent average.) 

He's not joking. Japanese entry statistics don't even seem to rec- 
ognize the concept of an immigrant, as opposed to a visitor. So 
Chart 15 uses legal foreign residents in Japan, excluding students, 
as a proxy for immigration. In 1991, there were about 900,000, less 
than 1 percent of Japan's population. This proportion has re- 
mained remarkably stable. Japan's illegal population was report- 
edly increasing but still minute at perhaps 250,000. 

By contrast, according to Washington, D.C.'s Center for Immi- 
gration Studies, working from census numbers, foreign residents 
are almost 9 percent of the recent 260 million U.S. population. And 
rising rapidly — to an estimated 12 percent by 2010, according to the 
Urban Institute. (The Center includes illegal immigrants, but thinks 
this may well wash with the undercount of legals, a chronic problem 
for the Census Bureau.) 

A mere 222,000 people have acquired Japanese citizenship since 
1945 — including those who have married Japanese. By contrast, in 
the same period over 8 million have acquired U.S. citizenship. 

How have the Japanese done it? One partial answer: capital in- 
vestment. The Japanese do save and invest more than Americans. 
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and 
Development, Japan's gross-savings ratio in 1990, almost 35 per- 
cent, was 20 points above that of the United States. And its Gross 
Fixed Capital Formation had averaged 9 percent growth over the 
previous five years, more than three times the American rate. 

But other countries come significantly nearer the Japanese sav- 
ings and investment rate without matching its growth. Moreover, 
Japan achieved even more impressive growth rates before World 
War II, although its savings rate was then much lower. Japanese 
manufacturing output increased six times between the two world 
wars. U.S. output increased only about two thirds. 15 

The basic reason for Japan's immigrantless expansion: the [????] 
factor — innovation. 

"There's no question that the key to Japanese economic growth 
is not the savings rate but institutional innovation," Professor 
Chalmers Johnson, a prominent Japan-watcher at the University of 
California at San Diego, said recently. One example: when Japan's 


textile industry began to agitate for immigrant labor in the 1960s, 
the government quietly clamped down on it. Instead, the industry 
automated, focused on higher value-added synthetics, and ulti- 
mately moved low-skill production offshore. 

Like other observers, Chalmers Johnson expects marginal in- 
creases in Japan's use of contract foreign labor, long-term "train- 
ees" and other subterfuges. But no fundamental change. 

Japan does have a demographic problem. Its population is aging 
rapidly. But it also still has surprisingly large reservoirs of underuti- 
lized Japanese labor. (Which shows how effective innovation in the 
efficient parts of its economy must be.) 

More than 7 percent of Japan's workforce is still in its highly pro- 
tected farming sector, two or three times the proportion of that in 
the United States or the United Kingdom. In other words, just al- 
lowing more food imports would free labor for business — besides 
benefiting the long-suffering Japanese consumers. Japanese women 
of childbearing age drop out of the workforce more often than 
women in other industrial economies. Japanese women who do 
work are notoriously restricted. And Japan's fragmented distribu- 
tion sector — the shops and warehouses that get goods to the con- 
sumer — is heavily overstaffed. 

Chalmers Johnson quotes a Japanese observer: "Demographics 
are important, but much more important than demographics is 
good strategy." By combining innovation with better use of native- 
born labor, Japan probably need never resort to mass immigration. 
It's as if the United States were somehow able to tap its unemployed 
underclass — and also get better value from its spending on schools. 

Or, as Chalmers Johnson, as a resident of Southern California, 
adds acidly: "Americans sit around counting on all these young 
Mexicans [to boost the economy]. But they have no idea how to 
educate them or employ them." 

I asked Julian Simon: given Japan's apparent demonstration that 
growth through innovation is a viable alternative, is immigration 
actually necessary for the U.S. economy? 

"I've never said it's necessary" Simon replied. 

He just thinks it helps. But how much? And with what side ef- 



As it happens, the United States contains one particular group that 
is clearly vulnerable to competition from immigration: American 

This question has attracted attention for years. In New York 
City in the 1830s, before mass immigration began, most domestic 
servants were black; twenty years later, they were Irish. 16 Later, and 
more dramatically, immigration from Europe after the Civil War is 
often said to have fatally retarded the economic integration of the 
freed slaves. For example, blacks were apparently crowded out of 
skilled jobs they had been working their way into both in central 
Pennsylvania steel mills and in northern Michigan logging and lum- 
ber mills. 17 

Prominent black leaders certainly saw immigration this way. 
"Every hour sees us elbowed out of some employment to make 
room perhaps for some newly arrived emigrants, whose hunger and 
color are thought to give them a title to especial favor," said Freder- 
ick Douglass, escaped slave and abolitionist orator. 18 

"To those of the white race who look to the incoming of those of 
foreign birth and strange tongue and habits for the prosperity of the 
South, I would repeat what I say to my own race, Cast down your 
bucket where you are," the founder of the all-black Tuskegee Insti- 
tute, Booker T. Washington, powerfully urged in his famous speech 
at the 1895 Atlanta Exposition. "Cast it down among the eight mil- 
lions of Negroes," he continued, in a pointed reference to immi- 
grants' radical political habits, 

. . . who have, without strikes and labor wars tilled your fields, 
cleared your forests . . . nurs[ed] your children, watch[ed] by the sick- 
beds of your mothers and fathers, and often follow[ed] them with 
tear-dimmed eyes to their graves. 19 

In later years, Washington's argument that acquiring basic skills 
was more important for blacks than contesting segregation was re- 
membered and often reviled. His complementary plea that they be 
protected from immigrant competition was forgotten, as the First 
Great Wave surged to its crest. 


More recently, no less an authority than Simon Kuznets en- 
dorsed this analysis of immigration's impact. He felt that the Sec- 
ond Great Immigration Lull after the 1920s enabled Southern 
blacks to begin their historic migration to the cities and the eco- 
nomic opportunities of the North. 20 

How can this happen if immigrants make more jobs than they 
take? Because of important qualifications that immigration enthusi- 
asts often miss — native-born workers are not necessarily displaced 
in aggregate. 

Julian Simon, to his credit, does not miss these qualifications. In 
The Economic Consequences of Immigration, he frankly and repeat- 
edly acknowledges that "[a]ny labor-force change causes some 
groups to suffer some harm in the short run . . . It is true that some 
particular groups may be injured by a particular group of immi- 
grants . . ." 21 (my italics). 

Naturally, if you are in the particular group displaced, knowing 
that the economy is benefiting overall may not be much consola- 

(This effect works in reverse too. Agribusiness lobbies for cheap 
immigrant labor rather than mechanize itself, regardless of the 
overall cost to the economy. Ironically, agribusiness is often itself 
an unnatural bloom — subsidized by federal water projects.) 

In Friends or Strangers, George Borjas found that blacks living in 
areas of immigrant concentration did not seem to have suffered sig- 
nificantly reduced incomes compared with those living elsewhere. 
The reason, he theorized, is that during the years in question — the 
1970s — the effect of immigration was overwhelmed by the effects of 
baby boomers and women entering the labor market. Now, of 
course, these factors no longer apply. 

But studies of specific high-immigrant areas may fail to capture a 
tendency for native-born workers to be repelled from them because 
of the increased competition. Across the entire country in the 1980s, 
the wages of native high school dropouts fell by 10 percent relative 
to the wages of more educated workers. Borjas has more recently 
calculated that about a third of that decline is due to immigration. 22 

Since the Great Society reforms* a significant part of the black 
community has succumbed to social pathology. As Andrew Hacker 


put it in his 1992 bestseller, Two Nations: Black and White, Sepa- 
rate, Hostile, Unequal 

. . . fewer blacks now have steady jobs of any kind and their unem- 
ployment rates have been growing progressively worse relative to 
those recorded for whites. 23 

There is at least a possibility that this is related to the simulta- 
neous opening of the immigration floodgates. Which is why it is to 
current policy, and not to critics of immigration, that the charge of 
"racism" might best be applied. 


I said in Chapter 1 that an interest in free markets is a hazard of my 
occupation. But I have to admit that some of us in the free-market 
ghetto are "semi-skilled intellectuals," in the scathing phrase of Ir- 
ving Kristol (himself a true idea craftsman). What this means is that 
we take ideas crafted by others and fit them into place. If they don't 
fit, well, we bash them in anyway. And on the subject of immigra- 
tion, there's a great deal of bashing indeed. 

It's wrong. A commitment to free trade and free markets does 
not mean that you would sell your mother if the price were right. 
The free market necessarily exists within a societal framework. And 
it can function only if the institutions in that framework are appro- 
priate. For example, a defined system of private property rights is 
now widely agreed to be one essential precondition. 

Economists have a word for these preconditions: the "metamar- 
ket." Some degree of ethnic and cultural coherence may be among 
these preconditions. Thus immigration may be a metamarket issue. 

At the very least, a diverse population increases what in econom- 
ics-speak are called "transaction costs." Dealing with people whom 
you don't know and therefore can't trust requires expensive precau- 
tions. I suspect this is one factor behind the legalism infesting busi- 
ness practices in the United States as compared with Britain. 

Beyond this, capitalism generates inequality and, therefore, envy. 


And such emotions can be much more intense across ethnic and ra- 
cial lines — witness the fate of Los Angeles's Korean storekeepers, 
burned out during the Rodney King riots. 

This is not an unprecedented insight. Friedrich von Hayek, the 
first classical liberal to win the Nobel Prize for economics, used to 
advance a sort of sociobiological argument for the apparently im- 
mortal appeal of socialism. Cities and civilization have come very 
late in human history, he pointed out. Almost all mankind's expe- 
rience has been in small hunter-gatherer bands. Face-to-face rela- 
tionships are still much more comprehensible to us than 
impersonal ones. Thus, for example, an increase in rent provokes 
an irresistible urge to bash the greedy landlord with rent controls, 
despite all the evidence that this reaction leads merely to short- 
ages and inequity. 

And, to extend Hayek's argument, it is obviously easier to demo- 
nize a landlord if his features — language, religion — appear alien. 

Another classical liberal economics Nobel laureate, Milton 
Friedman, has speculated that the culture of the English-speaking 
world itself may be, from an economic standpoint, sui generis ... in 
Simon's phrase. I interviewed him for Forbes magazine in 1988: 

Friedman: . . . The history of the world is the history of tyranny 
and misery and stagnation. Periods of growth are exceptional, very 

brimelow: You've mentioned what you see as the institutional 
prerequisites for capitalism. Do you think there might be cultural 
prerequisites too? 

Friedman: Oh, yes. For example, truthfulness. The success of Leb- 
anon as a commercial entrepdt [before its long-repressed ethnic divi- 
sions finally exploded into civil war] was to a significant degree 
because the merchants' word could be trusted. It cut down transac- 
tion costs. 

It's a curious fact that capitalism developed and has really come to 
fruition in the English-speaking world. It hasn't really made the 
same progress even in Europe — certainly not in France, for instance. 
I don't know why this is so, but the fact has to be admitted. 24 


It's a simple exercise in logic: 

1. Capitalism (and no doubt every other economic system) needs specific 
cultural prerequisites to function. 

2. Immigration can alter the cultural patterns of a society. 


3. Immigration can affect a society's ability to sustain capitalism. 

Let's leave the last word to George Borjas, again. "The economic 
arguments for immigration simply arent decisive," he says. "You 
have to make a political case — for example, does the U.S. have to 
take Mexican immigrants to provide a safety valve?" 



The most obvious fact about the history of racial and ethnic groups is 
how different they have been — and still are. . . . 

Human differences are often assumed away in social theories. 
. . . But this fashionable view of society ignores the fact that groups 
may carry their own messages with them from country to 
country — a very different message from those who live cheek-by- 
jowl with them in the same society and sit next to them in the same 
school rooms or on the same factory assembly line. 


The Economics and Politics of Race: An International Perspective 

Perhaps because he is himself black, or because his formida- 
ble reputation deters critics, Hoover Institution economist 
Thomas Sowell, quoted above, has not felt the usual inhibi- 
tions about studying the varying achievements of different ethnic 

His work, begun in his Ethnic America: A History (1981), 
conclusively demonstrates that cultural patterns are pervasive, 
powerful and remarkably persistent. Traits like attitudes toward 
work and education are intrinsically related to economic success. 
Thus Germans, Japanese and Jews are successful wherever they are 
in the world. 

In addition, Sowell has shown that these ethnic differences 
persist even after generations of living together under common institu- 


tions, as in the United States. What he calls the "messages" that 
different groups carry still come through loud and clear. 

"Ethnicity matters," agrees George Borjas, "and it matters for a 
long time." His own analyses of census data show that educational 
achievement, economic success and welfare recipiency differ sys- 
tematically between ethnic groups. And the disparities last for gen- 
erations — the effects of the different groups arriving in the 
1890-1920 Great Wave of Immigration are still discernable in 
America today. 


In a sense, economists are just rediscovering what historians have 
always known. The Brandeis University historian David Hackett 
Fischer recently struck a massive blow for cultural history with a 
monumental work: Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America 
(1989). It ingeniously traced America's dominant sectional tradi- 
tions all the way back to four distinct waves of colonial immigra- 
tion from different regions of Britain into four American "cultural 

• New England: 21,000 East Anglian Puritans to Massachusetts, 

• the South: about 45,000 gentry and indentured servants from the 
south and west of England to Virginia, 1642-75 

• the Middle Atlantic: 23,000 North Midland Quakers to the Dela- 
ware, 1675-1725 

• the Mountain South: about 250,000 Border English and Scots, Ul- 
ster Protestants ("Scotch-Irish") to the Appalachian "Back Coun- 
try," 1717-75 

Subsequent migration from these four "cultural hearths" across 
the continent can still be detected in the four American "speech re- 
gions" delineated by linguistic geographers in the mid-twentieth 


• Northern: New England; upstate New York; northern Ohio, In- 
diana, Michigan, Wisconsin; northern Plains; Pacific Northwest; 
some urban islands like Denver, San Francisco 

• Midland: middle latitudes from Pennsylvania to Pacific Coast, 
widening at the Mississippi Valley 

• Coastal South: Virginia through Florida and Gulf of Mexico 

• Highland Southern: Appalachia, lower Mississippi Valley, Texas, 
New Mexico, Arizona, Southern California 

I recommend Fischer's book as a Christmas present for Ameri- 
cans who visibly belong to one or another of these traditions — 
often nowadays without realizing it. 

Which involves more Americans than might appear at first sight, 
because these traditions are assimilative. As Fischer writes: "The 
author's Protestant stereotypes about the culture of Judaism were 
utterly exploded by his Brandeis students who have included Yan- 
kee Jews, Philadelphia Jews, southern Jews and, most startling of 
all, backslapping Texas Jews in cowboy boots and ten gallon hats." 

But he adds, "Their culture was a product of ethnicity and re- 
gion" 1 (my italics). Clearly, immigration can alter the balance of 
this equation. And will. 

Thus the culture of a country, exactly like its ecology, turns out 
to be a living thing, sensitive and even fragile. Neither can easily be 
intruded upon without consequences. 

Curiously, Congress has shaken off its general paralysis to recog- 
nize that immigration can have cultural consequences-^/br Pacific 
Islanders. Five U.S. territories — American Samoa, the Federated 
States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the 
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Palau — 
have been granted local control over immigration to protect their 
ethnic majorities. In American Samoa and the Northern Marianas, 
U.S. citizens cannot even own land unless they are Samoan, Cha- 
morro or Carolinian. 2 

"But aren't these consequences good?" Naturally, there isn't any- 
thing in the immigration enthusiasts' script about cultural conse- 
quences. However, this is their usual reaction if you insist on raising 
the point. 

Francis Fukuyama, author of The End of History and the Last 


Man, and one of the country's most celebrated intellectuals after a 
controversy he provoked about the universal application of Ameri- 
can values, made this argument in a piece he wrote for Commentary 
partly in response to my National Review cover story. Fukuyama is 
a sophisticated commentator who acknowledged that there is a 
("Christian Anglo-Saxon") core to America. But he argued that 
American culture was actually being reinforced by the strong "fam- 
ily values" of Hispanic immigrants. Commentary's readers expect 
blood in the correspondence columns, but I was impressed with 
Fukuyama's subtlety and merely pointed out wimpishly that immi- 
grants could have splendid family values and still not be Americans. 
(Sociologists have a name for this sort of indifference to the wider 
society: "amoral familialism.") Michael Lind of National Interest 
magazine was tougher. He noted scathingly that the data show His- 
panic "family values" are another immigration enthusiast's myth — 
Mexican-American out-of-wedlock births, for example, are more 
than twice the white rate, at 28.9 percent. 

You can't blame the immigration enthusiasts, necessarily. They 
are remembering all those endless newspaper columns about Viet- 
namese valedictorians and the delights of ethnic cuisine. 

And it's embarrassing. In the current climate, it is impossible to 
discuss the failings of any ethnic group. 

But look at it this way: there are two sides to every question. 
Thomas Sowell's work shows that cultural traits are related to eco- 
nomic success. Why wouldn't they relate also to economic failure — 
or worse? 

In fact, George Borjas and others have already shown that na- 
tional origin is an excellent predictor of economic failure, as mea- 
sured by the propensity to go on welfare. 

Thus there can be no doubt: the cultural characteristics of current 
immigrant groups will have consequences for the United States far 
into the future. 



For example, crime. 

". . . the United States is in the grip of the third of three great 
crime waves," writes Ted Robert Gurr, professor of political sci- 
ence at the University of Maryland at College Park and editor of 
Violence in America: The History of Crime. 3 "They began about 50 
years apart — approximately 1850, 1900, and 1960 — and each has 
lasted for 20 to 30 years." 

These waves, Gurr argues, contrast with a gradual decline of per- 
sonal violence in Western societies generally, attributable to what 
he calls "the civilizing process." He adds: 

America's three great crime waves can be linked to immigration, eco- 
nomic deprivation and war, which all interfere with the civilizing pro- 
cess . . . the first and second episodes of violent crime wound down as 
immigrants were incorporated into the expanding economy. 4 [my ital- 

Obviously, the current crime wave cannot ebb if immigrants con- 
tinue to arrive as fast as they are incorporated — or faster. 

Note carefully: immigration is not the only cause of crime. It may 
not even be the major cause of crime. But it is a factor. 

And remember: this is immigration that has no economic ratio- 
nale from the American point of view. Immigration enthusiasts 
have to find some other justification — and safe streets is not it. 

News about immigrant crime is firmly in the unfit-to-print cate- 
gory. Researchers find that official figures on immigrant and ethnic 
crime patterns are rarely collected. Cities like New York, Chicago 
and San Francisco have even instructed their employees not to co- 
operate with the INS. There has been no serious academic study of 
the impact on crime of the Second Great Wave of Immigration. 5 

But here are a few pointers: 

• Criminal aliens — noncitizens who commit crimes — accounted for 
over 25 percent of the federal prison population in 1993. They repre- 
sent its fastest-growing segment. (And remember, this doesn't 
count naturalized immigrants who commit crimes.) 


• About 450,000 noncitizens have been convicted of crimes and are ei- 
ther in American jails, on probation or on parole. 6 

• In May 1990, a study showed that foreign-born criminals comprised 
18 percent of the inmates passing through the Los Angeles County 
Jail Inmate Reception Center. Some 1 1 percent of the inmates were 
foreign-born criminals whose offenses were sufficiently serious to 
qualify them as "deportable aliens." 

• By May 1991, a follow-up study revealed, only half of these "de- 
portable aliens" had been returned to their country of origin . . . 
and over 40 percent of the "deportable aliens** had already been 
rearrested in the United States for further crimes. (An average of 
about two crimes each, as a matter of fact.) Not only was this de- 
portable group highly criminal, with a lifetime average of six ar- 
rests each, but some of them had clearly just turned around and 
come straight back to the United States after deportation — in it- 
self a felony. 7 

This is what it means to have borders out of control. 

• In 1989, when California Superior Court Judge David O. Carter 
allowed the INS to work in his Orange County courtroom, some 
36 percent of convicted criminals, many of them repeat offenders, 
turned out to be illegal aliens. This did not include many individu- 
als applying for IRCA amnesty; or individuals from countries 
refusing to accept deported felons, like Vietnam, Iran or Cuba — 
whom the INS consequently ignores. Up to 80 percent of the cases 
carried by some senior probation officers are estimated to be il- 
legals. 8 

("But they're all in for drug offenses — they're international drug 
smugglers, not really immigrants at all!" Some 81 percent of sen- 
tenced non-citizens in federal jails are indeed there for drug viola- 
tions, but the wild claim by immigration enthusiasts that they are 
just smugglers and therefore somehow don't count is hard to take 
seriously. A more reasonable explanation: the fact that immigrants 
dominate the drug business inside the U.S. [see below].) 

Still, in today's one-way immigration debate, immigration enthu- 
siasts can get away with murder . . . almost literally, in this context. 
So for the record: only a fifth (18 percent) of those non-citizen in- 
mates were sentenced for "drug importation." Over four fifths (81 


percent) are in for "drug trafficking," which the Federal Bureau of 
Prisons says means selling drugs on America's street corners. More- 
over, some 61 percent of all federal inmates are confined for drug 
violations. Are these American-born criminals "international drug 
smugglers" too? 9 

(I find more interesting the fragmentary evidence that the pro- 
portions of immigrant inmates in state-prison systems are some- 
times less than the state's immigrant population. For example, in 
1990 some 19.4 percent of California's state-prison inmates were 
foreign-born, as opposed to 21.7 percent of the state's population. 
Perhaps immigrant offenders are passed up to the federal level for 
deportation — deportation rates have shot up more than 1,000 per- 
cent since the mid-1980s— or congregate, as yet unreported, in 
county and city jails. Or perhaps they just Don't Tell: California 
has no foolproof way of checking status, but it does report that 15 
percent of state-prison inmates were illegal aliens, although they 
make up anywhere from 3.5 to 7 percent — who knows? — of the 
state's population as a whole. In any case, immigrants in jail pose 
the same question for Americans as immigrants on welfare: what's 
the point of immigrants who are no better than we are? 10 ) 

Of course, it is simply common sense that crime is a cost of immi- 
gration, if for no other reason than that immigrants tend to be 
young men, disproportionately inclined to crime in all societies. Im- 
migration enthusiasts would do better to admit this cost honestly, 
and argue instead that it is outweighed by the benefits of immigra- 
tion — whatever they are. 

Equally, it is simply common sense that immigration can mean 
ethnic change, which can mean consequences for crime. For exam- 
ple, random street crime, the great scandal of American cities since 
the 1960s, is related to impulsiveness and what sociologists call 
"present-orientation," i.e., the inability to reckon with conse- 
quences. And this turns out to be a key cultural variable, differing 
significantly between ethnic groups. 

Inevitably, therefore, certain ethnic cultures are more crime 
prone than others. The numbers can be staggering. For example: 
Blacks make up only 12 percent of the American population but 64 
percent of all violent-crime arrests. 1 1 

However, less obvious but of urgent concern to the U.S. Depart- 


ment of Justice, is another ethnic-based criminal pattern: the pro- 
pensity to develop forms of organized crime. 

You can see why this has typically been ethnically based. Crimi- 
nals prefer to deal with co-conspirators they understand and 
trust — in economist-speak, it reduces their transaction costs. And 
such tightly knit groups, operating in a foreign and sometimes ob- 
scure language, are notoriously difficult for the police to penetrate. 

In recent years the Mafia or Cosa Nostra has been in decline, not 
least because of the acculturation of Italian Americans. But crime is 
"dirty work" that some of the post-1965 immigrant groups are pos- 
itively anxious to do — more violently, particularly in the burgeon- 
ing drug business, than the Mafia ever was. 

There are several such new "mafias," each with its own special- 
ties: Colombians (cocaine); Mexicans (marijuana, auto theft, alien 
smuggling); Hong Kong Chinese (heroin, alien smuggling); South 
Koreans (prostitution) . . . and even lesser-known communities like 
the Chaldeans, Iraqi Christians whose heroically run convenience 
stores in the Detroit ghetto are reportedly centers of criminal activ- 
ity (narcotics, gambling, coupon fraud). 

You haven't read much about this because of the contemporary 
taboo that ensures only good things can be said about immigrants. 
One remarkable article shattering that taboo appeared in the Janu- 
ary 1993 Vanity Fair magazine. Writer Robert I. Friedman quoted 
experts who believe that the predominantly Russian Jewish "Or- 
ganizatsiya" is on the way to displacing La Costa Nostra and 
becoming "the largest criminal syndicate in the world." 

"The Russians are just as crazy as the Jamaican drug gangs," a 
Ukrainian-speaking New York detective who had declined to work 
the Russian beat told Friedman. "They won't hesitate to go after a 
cop's family." 

Friedman reported that the Soviet emigres, the educated elite of a 
totally corrupt society, have created an unusually organized form 
of organized crime. For example, they have vastly expanded the 
bootleg-gasoline tax-evasion scam — formerly operated by "Turk- 
ish and Greek immigrants" — and have used it to penetrate legiti- 
mate businesses, like Getty Oil. They are bringing in Israeli 
ex-commandos. And they adroitly manipulate a good cause: "Jew- 
ish organizations have lobbied the Justice Department to downplay 


the Russian Mob," Friedman reports, "fearing that adverse public- 
ity will jeopardize the mass exodus of Russian Jews to Israel." 

"I never felt anti-Semitism [in the Soviet Union]," Marat 
Balagula — whom Friedman describes as "the Godfather of the 
Russian Mob" — told him frankly. "... I used that as an excuse 
when I applied for my visa." 12 

Another remarkable description of an ethnic mafia appeared in 
the spring 1993 issue of Social Contract magazine. David Simcox, a 
senior fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, reported that 
U.S. law enforcement officials estimate an incredible 75 percent of 
the 100,000 Nigerians now in the United States are involved in "an 
impressive and innovative variety of fraud schemes" using exten- 
sive countrywide networks. Cost to the United States in 1989: some 
$1 billion. Nigerian specialties: immigration and citizenship fraud; 
bank and credit card fraud; welfare fraud; insurance fraud; heroin. 
(The State Department estimates that 35 to 40 percent of all heroin 
entering the United States is imported by Nigerians. 13 ) 

Interestingly, Nigerian criminals come from their country's privi- 
leged classes. They have education levels significantly above the im- 
migrant norm. But as Simcox says bluntly: "[Nigeria] is notorious 
for corruption and non-existent business ethics even by African 


Whenever large numbers of people are on the move, disease has the 
opportunity to erupt. Cholera and smallpox returned to the United 
States with the Irish immigrants of the 1840s. 14 Awareness of this 
danger was one reason immigrants arriving at Ellis Island were so 
rigorously inspected by efficient batteries of doctors, the myth of 
"Open Borders" notwithstanding. Of the 24,000 refused admission 
in 1910, about 15 percent were carriers of contagious disease. 15 

• With 2 to 3 million illegal entries every year, it is quite possible that 
the United States has never been so unprotected against immigra- 
tion 's impact on its public health standards. 


News about immigrant-borne disease is also firmly in the unfit- 
to-print circular file. But here are a few fragments: 

• Tuberculosis: once the leading killer in the United States, tubercu- 
losis was virtually extinct by the 1970s. Now it is surging. Partly 
this is because of new strains resistant to antibiotics, but largely it's 
because of immigration from regions like Latin America where the 
disease is endemic (foreign-born cases accounted for nearly two 
thirds of the increase in the last decade, according to the Centers 
for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta). In 1991, some 27 
percent of U.S. cases were foreign-born; over 60 percent of Cali- 
fornia's cases, and 30 to 80 percent of the cases in some immigrant- 
heavy Washington suburbs. 16 

• Leprosy: of the six thousand patients in the United States in 1987, 
90 percent were refugees or immigrants from Southeast Asia or 
Mexico. 17 

• Measles: virtually eliminated in the United States during the 
1980s, measles is flaring up — in Hispanic areas, particularly 
among recent arrivals from Latin America. 18 

• Cholera, malaria, dengue fever (what? — it's like yellow fever): all 
are widespread in Latin America, and all have been reported in the 
United States recently. l9 

Quite possibly, disease incubated in the teeming human petri 
dishes that Third World cities now comprise may be the chance fac- 
tor that finally crystallizes immigration as a political issue in the 
United States. For example, the U.S. Institute of Medicine has re- 
cently predicted "with some confidence" that if yellow fever, the in- 
curable mosquito-borne disease now resurgent in Africa and 
Amazonia, returns to New Orleans, public health defenses could be 
quickly overwhelmed: "100,000 people would become ill . . . and 
10,000 would likely die within 90 days . . ." 20 


Environmentalism has been one of the most powerful political 
forces of the last thirty years. It has provided an entirely new role 


for government. The federal Environmental Protection Agency was 
founded only in 1970. But it now accounts for a seventh of the staff 
and a third of the spending of the entire U.S. government regula- 
tory apparatus. 

In 1990, EPA officials estimated that complying with their pollu- 
tion-control regulations alone caused Americans to spend about 
$115 billion a year. That was a remarkable 2.1 percent of the 
GNP. 21 

It's all wasted. Well, not wasted exactly (although there are some 
very critical critics) but possibly misdirected. For the single biggest 
impact on the environment is the fact that the American population, 
almost uniquely in the developed world, continues to grow. Increas- 
ingly, immigration is driving U.S. population growth. (See Chapter 
2, page 46.) Washington's immigration and environmental policies 
are working in opposite directions. 

This is a point that immigration enthusiasts have extraordinary 
difficulty grasping. "And, environmentalists, please take note, " Ben 
Wattenberg writes, "immigration does not increase global popula- 
tion; it only shifts it around ,m Yeah. It shifts it to Southern Califor- 
nia, which is being paved over as a result. 

The relationship between population and pollution is a little 
more subtle than it looks— just like the issue of the impact of immi- 
gration on native workers. A primitive band of slash-and-burn 
agriculturalists can cause more devastation than a much larger 
community of modern exurbanites with sewage systems and mani- 
cured horse farms. 

But this subtlety applies only within limits. Something has clearly 
got to give if the population of California grows from 20 million in 
1970 to 60 million by 2020, which is Leon Bouvier's upper-limit 
projection. (His lower-limit projection: a mere 44 million. Phoo- 
ey!) 23 

The fragile desert ecologies of the Southwest may not be utterly 
destroyed. But they must be transformed. California must cease to 
be the Golden State and become the Golden Subdivision. 

This prospect is presumably anathema to true environmentalists, 
who value wilderness in itself. But although a few were active in 
founding FAIR, most members of the professional environmental- 
ist establishment in Washington avoid the issue. Which, frankly, is 


a measure of the extent to which they have been seduced by their 
inside-the-Beltway alliances— just as the Civil Rights lobby never 
voices the anti-immigration sentiments widespread among the 
black masses. (Irritated grass-roots environmentalists have now 
formed new groups specifically to address population issues, such 
as Carrying Capacity Network and Population-Environment Bal- 

It is certainly true, as immigration enthusiasts sometimes argue, 
that there are still many places in the world more crowded than Cal- 
ifornia. And perhaps it is even theoretically possible that California 
could sustain a population of a billion or so, and become a sort of 
Hong Kong writ large. 

Environmentalists don't like to concede this. They tend to think 
there would be a catastrophic ecological breakdown that would ac- 
tually threaten life. And there's no doubt that Hong Kongifornia 
would be pretty catastrophic for the current flora and fauna. But 
let's suppose it could be done by triple-parking human beings — 
wouldn't it be horrible? 

• Population growth is not simply an environmental issue: it is more 
urgently an amenity issue. 

Uncrowded ranges, empty beaches, mountain solitude — they 
may not sound as dramatic a rallying cry as the claim that food and 
water might run out. But there was a time, quite recently, when no 
one would have doubted they were just as necessary to the Ameri- 
can soul. 

Amenity issues are ultimately questions of values. And values, as 
we have seen, differ between ethnic traditions. You do meet envi- 
ronmentalists who mutter darkly about the post-Colonial immi- 
grant groups' preference for cities (demonstrably true for some of 

But here's a more concrete example: 

Like most New Yorkers — at least the ones who work in the 
media — I am sentimental about Asian immigration. They seem 
law-abiding and hard-working (although I gather you aren't sup- 
posed to say this. And maybe it's just another immigration myth: 
there are growing reports of gangs and welfare dependency). 


Still, the young female students I see every morning entering the 
Parsons School of Design, next to Forbes 's offices, are very charm- 
ing, and fashionable. 

But some years ago, on a radio call-in show in Vancouver, Can- 
ada, I was shocked to find, crackling through the microphones, an 
intense hostility to the developing influx of Hong Kong Chinese. 

One symbolic reason: wealthy Chinese families are buying choice 
Victorian houses in wooded residential areas and — cutting down all 
the trees. (Supposedly, there's a Chinese superstition that evil spirits 
live in trees.) Then, often, they build enormous "monster houses," 
covering as much of the lot as possible. 

This behavior is deeply shocking to Vancouver standards. Of 
course, it's not wrong in any profound sense (unless you like trees). 
But it is a genuine conflict of values, between groups who seem to 
have so much in common. And it would not have happened without 


The federal government has begun installing powerful floodlights along 
a four-mile stretch of the U.S.-Mexican border, west of the San Ysidro 
port of entry, where illegal crossings routinely occur. . . . 

The lighting project was approved in 1992, but it was delayed while ex- 
perts studied whether the powerful lamps would disturb the nesting hab- 
its of the federally protected California gnatcatcher. 

— San Diego Union-Tribune, January 22, 1994 

What's wrong with this picture? 



. . . [immigrants J will bring with them the principles of the governments they 
leave, or if able to throw them off, it will be in exchange for an unbridled licen- 
tiousness, passing, as usual, from one extreme to the other. It would be a miracle 
were they to stop precisely at the point of temperate liberty. 

Notes on the State of Virginia (1782) 

The safety of a republic depends essentially on the energy of a common national 
sentiment; on a uniformity of principles and habits; on the exemption of the citi- 
zens from foreign bias, and prejudice; and on the love of country which will al- 
most invariably be found to be closely connected with birth, education and 

The opinion advanced in [Thomas Jefferson's] Notes on Virginia is undoubt- 
edly correct, that foreigners will generally be apt to bring with them attachments 
to the persons they have left behind; to the country of their nativity, and to its 
particular customs and manners. . . . The influx of foreigners must, therefore, 
tend to produce a heterogeneous compound; to change and corrupt the national 
spirit; to complicate and confound public opinion; to introduce foreign propensi- 
ties. In the composition of society, the harmony of the ingredients is all impor- 
tant, and whatever tends to a discordant intermixture must have an injurious 

The United States have already felt the evils of incorporating a large number 
of foreigners into their national mass; by promoting in different classes different 
predilections in favor of particular foreign nations, and antipathies against oth- 
ers, it has served very much to divide the community and to distract our councils. 

response to Jefferson's message to Congress, January 12, 1802 


££ ~r tnmigration is the American tradition. " In fact, as we saw in 
Chart 4, there was little immigration for long periods of 
American history. Intermittent immigration is the Ameri- 
can tradition. 


But immigration enthusiasts often make the more sweeping claim 
on the strength of one of the numerous charges leveled at King 
George III in the Declaration of Independence: 

He has endeavoured to prevent the Population of these States; for that 
Purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refus- 
ing to pass others to encourage their Migrations hither. . . . 

(The rest of the complaint is rarely quoted: "and raising the Con- 
ditions of new Appropriations of Land" The real issue was the ex- 
panding Colonies' land-lust: the British authorities were afraid it 
would goad the outraged Indians west of the Appalachians into an- 
other uprising like Pontiac's Conspiracy of 1763. Even then, immi- 
gration had political consequences.) 

However, despite the Founding Fathers' lip service to immigra- 
tion — which at that time was purely a hypothetical issue in most of 
the Thirteen Colonies — even a cursory study of their attitudes re- 
veals that their welcome was in fact highly qualified. They viewed 
immigration, as they viewed most things, with caution and skepti- 

"Put none but Americans on guard tonight, " George Washington 
is supposed to have ordered at a key point in the Revolutionary 
War. His implicit doubts about the loyalty of the foreign-born are 
echoed in the Constitution, which requires the president and vice 
president to be "a natural-born citizen." Other examples abound. 

Look again at the two quotations I've chosen to head this chap- 
ter, from Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton — himself an 
immigrant, from the British-ruled Caribbean island of Nevis. They 
show how the Founding Fathers' consensus on immigration went 
right across the political spectrum. 

Jefferson and Hamilton led the two principal contending factions 
in the new American Republic. They favored, respectively, states' 
rights and a closer, more centralized union. They had differences on 
immigration, tussling over the residency requirement for naturali- 
zation because immigrants were thought to favor the Jeffersonians. 
But, basically, Jefferson and Hamilton shared the same reserva- 
tions — they knew immigration had political consequences. 



Many immigration enthusiasts are reluctant to admit that a shift in 
the distribution of political power is even a theoretical possibility. 
So it is worth emphasizing: there are plenty of cases of immigrants 
and their descendants threatening a country's political balance. 
Two examples from either end of this century: 

• South Africa at the beginning of the twentieth century: the Anglo- 
Boer (Afrikaans-speaker) War was raging in South Africa, trig- 
gered when the Afrikaans-speaking Republic of Transvaal was 
threatened by an influx of predominantly English-speaking uit- 
landers ("foreigners") attracted by gold discoveries. Transvaal re- 
fused to allow the uitlanders to vote; they attempted a coup. 

• Fiji at the end of the twentieth century: the military ruler of Fiji has 
imposed a new constitution guaranteeing the prime ministership 
and a majority of legislative seats to "indigenous [racially Melane- 
sian] Fijians." The Asian Indian minority, descendants of immi- 
grant field-workers, had grown to virtually half the total 
population and had managed to elect an Indian-dominated gov- 
ernment. It had promptly been deposed by the Fijian-dominated 

And how about this chilling comment from the Harvard Encyclo- 
pedia of American Ethnic Groups! 

In obtaining land grants in Texas, Anglo immigrants agreed to 
become Mexican citizens, obey Mexican laws, accept the official 
Catholic faith, learn Spanish, and take other steps to become fully 
assimilated as law-abiding citizens. However, over the years, it be- 
came clear that these settlers, now Anglo-Mexicans, were not becom- 
ing integrated into the nation and that Anglo immigration had 

become a problem The strains and disagreements ultimately led 

to the Texas Revolution in 1835.* 

Er, quite. 

In the United States today, one glaring possibility is that the 
Mexican influx into Texas and the Southwest might eventually re- 


verse this process. Groups like the campus-based MEChA, the 
Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan, are openly working 
for Aztlan, a Hispanic-dominated political unit to be carved out 
of the Southwest and (presumably) reunited with Mexico. 2 The 
technical term for this is irredentism — first applied by the newly 
united Italians in the nineteenth century to the "unredeemed" 
Italian-speaking areas in Switzerland and Austria-Hungary. Or 
revanchism — first applied to the French desire for revenge against 
the German Empire for seizing Alsace-Lorraine after the Franco- 
Prussian War of 1870-71. 

How popular this irredentism may be among Mexican Ameri- 
cans is debatable— for now. But it should not obscure another de- 
velopment that already appears well under way: the Mexican 
government's claim to what amounts to extraterritorial rights over 
Mexican immigrants in the territory of the (former?) United States. 

Recently, Mexico has opened "cultural institutes" and sponsored 
programs to teach Spanish to illiterate Hispanics from New York 
to California. It has, for example, reportedly donated textbooks 
and bilingual teachers to the Los Angeles school system. It has an- 
nounced that it is "monitoring" death-penalty cases involving Mex- 
ican citizens and is lobbying for abolition of capital punishment in 
the states where they are held. And it is supervising informal leader- 
ship elections in migrant communities to ensure that they "haye 
proper representation before American city councils or county gov- 
ernment." (State Department's reported comment: "It is hard to 
object to people being shown how to avail themselves of the rights 
they have in this country." Beat me! Beat me!) Every major Mexi- 
can political party has opened offices in California. 3 

The plain fact is that this is a rational strategy for the Mexican 
elite. They can dump their poor in the United States — and become 
the tail that wags the geopolitical dog. 

It's particularly interesting when you reflect that it is actually il- 
legal for Mexican citizens to leave their country without official 
sanction. So the 2 to 3 million illegal immigrants each year are 
breaking not just U.S. law, but Mexican law as well. Moreover, 
Mexican law views the American-born children of Mexican immi- 
grants to the U.S. as Mexican citizens. 

Of course, these political consequences of immigration need not 


necessarily threaten the integrity of the country . . . just its foreign 

For example, in recent years Washington pursued totally contra- 
dictory policies toward the white settler communities of Southern 
Africa and the Middle East. It slapped economic sanctions on the 
former, but it supplied economic subsidies to the latter. Domestic 
ethnic-group pressure is the most obvious explanation for this strik- 
ing difference. 

Equally, what Alexander Hamilton called "predilections" among 
U.S. ethnic groups have influenced American attitudes toward for- 
eign issues as diverse as the Greek-Turkish conflict and the Haitian 
military's domestic habits. 


Ethnicity is destiny in American politics. This point was made defini- 
tively in Kevin Phillips's brilliant book The Emerging Republican 
Majority (1968), which demonstrated that immigrant settlement 
patterns had an amazingly persistent influence on subsequent 
American voting patterns. 

Phillips predicted on the basis of demographic trends that the 
Republicans would replace the Democrats as the majority party. 
And he was undeniably right in the presidential contest — from 
1968, the Republicans won five of the next six elections — even if 
timid and unimaginative leadership (and possibly the Democrats' 
advantages of incumbency) squandered the opportunity on the con- 
gressional level. 

As a glance around any of their meetings will tell you, the Repub- 
licans are the party of the American majority; the Democrats are 
the party of the American minorities. 

On its WASP foundation, the Republican party has been able to 
add the children of each immigrant wave as they assimilate. This 
was the unmistakable subtext of the 1988 presidential election. 
With a Greek American nominee, and implicitly anti-WASP at- 
tacks on George Bush's "preppie-ness," the Democrats hoped to 
hold the 1890-1920 immigrant wave. But they failed, just as nomi- 


nating John F. Kennedy in 1960 did not prevent the continued de- 
fection of Irish Americans. 

However, the post- 1965 immigrants are overwhelmingly visible 
minorities. And these are precisely the groups that the Republican 
party has had the most difficulty recruiting. 

What's more, it is important to note that, despite the hopeful 
rhetoric of "bleeding-heart conservatives" like former Secretary of 
Housing and Urban Development Jack Kemp, this failure is not 
necessarily a question of the Republicans' making nice, or nicer. It 
may reflect the more divergent minorities' different values — and their 
more radical feeling of alienation from white American society. 

The numbers are indisputable: Current immigration policy is in- 
exorably reinforcing Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition. 

That strained sound you hear is the conservative establishment 
whistling as they pass by the rainbow. Prohibited from discussing 
the problem by the "bland bargain" that has been the price of toler- 
ation by the liberal establishment — as we saw in Chapter 5 — they 
have indulged in a frenzy of wishful thinking. 

• "We get quite a good vote from some Hispanic groups. " Well, His- 
panics are not quite as Democratic as the blacks — that's a statisti- 
cal impossibility — but the Republicans still face an uphill struggle. 
Even the much-lauded Cuban vote has actually been quite split, 
electing liberal Democrats like Claude Pepper and Dante Fascell 
to Congress. 

• "West Indians are different." Some West Indians do appear to 
have been more economically successful than American blacks, al- 
though it must be said that nowadays part of their enterprise goes 
into drug "posses" and car-theft rings. However, the skill level of 
the post- 1965 wave of West Indian immigrants has deteriorated 
sharply. And anyway, the political consequences were always illu- 
sory. Shirley Chisholm and Stokely Carmichael are both of West 
Indian descent. 

• "The Asians are small-business types, education-minded, family- 
oriented— they're natural Republicans. '■ So were the Jews, and look 
at their politics — still overwhelmingly and outspokenly Demo- 
cratic despite the best efforts of a brilliant generation of conserva- 
tive Jewish intellectuals. And Hawaii, where Asians predominate, 
is a Democratic stronghold. 


The truth is this: no one has the faintest idea how the Asians will vote. 
But since 1965 they have become a minority twice as large as the 
Jews — and potentially at least as influential. 


Still, everyone has problems. If you look at it from an ethnic per- 
spective, the Democrats' victory in the 1992 presidential election 
was somewhat less encouraging than it appeared at first sight. 

The Democrats won because the white vote was split by the third- 
party candidate, Ross Perot. According to The New York Times* 
Bill Clinton won with an astonishingly low 39 percent of the white 
vote (which was 87 percent of the total vote). George Bush got 41 
percent — and Ross Perot, 20 percent. Clinton got 82 percent of the 
blacks (8 percent of the total vote) and 62 percent of the Hispanics 
(3 percent of the total vote). 

(But, for what it's worth, he got only 29 percent of the Asians — 1 
percent of the total vote — as opposed to 55 percent for Bush and 16 
percent for Perot.) 

Among white Protestants (49 percent of the total), Clinton got 33 
percent, Bush 46 percent (!) and Perot 21 percent. Among "white 
born-again Christians" (17 percent of the total), Clinton got 23 per- 
cent, Bush 61 percent (!!) and Perot 15 percent. Remember— practi- 
cally until the Civil War, white Protestants were America. 

But Clinton got a majority of the Jewish vote (78 percent: it's just 
4 percent of the total vote). Bush got 12 percent; Perot, 10 percent. 
As usual. Since 1980, Republican presidential candidates have never 
got more than 39 percent of the Jewish vote — and that was in 1980, 
Ronald Reagan 's first election. 

The brutal truth is this: 

• the Clinton administration is a black-Hispanic- Jewish-minority 
white (Southerners used to call them "scalawags") coalition. 

If the immigration pincers continue to close on America, the 
Clinton administration's electoral coalition may be a harbinger of 
politics to come. 


On the face of it, immigration looks good for the Democrats. The 
more minorities, the better their chance of locking in the presi- 
dency. And, if present trends continue, there will be a lot more 
minorities indeed 


• democrats' problem #1: There's still some way to go. The 
immigration pincers may not even be closing fast enough to reelect 
Clinton — unless the white vote is split again. (Or unless he suc- 
ceeds in dividing the whites on class lines. Which he well might — 
for example with his tax increases.) 

This problem is made more serious for the Democrats by another 
factor: minorities tend to be ineligible, unregistered, or too young 
to vote. Note that the minority proportion of the 1992 vote lagged 
significantly behind their proportion of the population. 

• democrats' problem #2: As the pincers pinch, the backlash 
danger grows. The Democrats' strategy of uniting the minorities 
and dividing the majority increasingly runs the risk alienating the 
majority, so that none of it stays with the Democrats at all. 

This is hardly an exaggeration. In 1992, Bill Clinton got just 34 
percent of white Southerners. This is an astonishingly poor per- 
formance for a Southern candidate in what was, until well within 
living memory, the famous Democratic "Solid South." Moreover, 
across the country, Clinton's vote from white men systematically 
lagged his vote from white women (37 percent vs. 41 percent for 
Bush). This suggests that the proportion of Southern white men 
who voted for him must have been far lower. Yet this is a group that 
in the early years of the century, when virtually no one else could 
vote in the South, was almost unanimously Democratic. 

Moral: the Democrats have paid a significant price for their new 

To the Democrats' unite-the-minorities, divide-the-majority 
strategy, the Republicans have an obvious counter-stroke: they 
could aim to unite the majority, attracting former blue-collar Dem- 


ocrats, and marginalize the minorities. In effect, this has slowly 
been happening anyway. 

But here the Bland Bargain plays its crucial role. Under its terms, 
Republicans cannot question the elite consensus on racial policies, 
nor can they make an open appeal to white interests. This leaves an 
open field for the Democrats' class appeal. 

• democrats' problem #3: The minority coalition may not 
coalesce. Some of the strains between components of the Rainbow 
Coalition, notably between blacks and Jews, have been widely 

The ultimate danger for the Democrats: disaffected compon- 
ents of their coalition might actually secede and set up their own 
political parties. For example, one 1994 poll found fully half of 
American blacks supporting the creation of a separate black party, 
double the proportion of just a few years earlier. Half of all 
blacks viewed themselves as a "nation within a nation," with 
blacks below their mid-thirties especially inclined to separatism. 
For the Democrats, falling black-voter turnout may just be an omi- 
nous symptom. 5 

Forming splinter parties is a perfectly rational strategy. Minority 
leaders might reasonably hope to monopolize patronage through 
local elections — where their flocks are concentrated — and to use 
their splinter parties' nomination as a more valuable bargaining 
chip at the state and federal levels. This was the successful strategy 
of the New York Conservative and Liberal parties in the peculiar 
political conditions of the Empire State. 


Indeed, the threat of new parties is the ultimate danger for the entire 
American political elite. The opinion polls noted in Chapter 5 make 
it plain: for nearly thirty years, official immigration policy has not 


merely systematically ignored, but has actually been diametrically op- 
posed to, a popular opinion that has been as adamant and absolute as 
it is possible to reach in a democratic society. 

This may look clever in editorial offices and congressional com- 
mittee rooms. But where government is supposedly based on the 
consent of the governed, it inevitably raises very real questions of 
moral legitimacy. 

Third-party insurrections are usually contained when either or 
both of the major parties wakes up and accommodates the discon- 
tent. But eruptions in the 1850s permanently altered the political 
landscape, creating the two-party system Americans know and love 
today. And immigration played a vital role. 

The Know Nothings' American party — formed in response to 
the unprecedented influx of immigrant Catholics (see pages 12- 
13)— turned out to be an acceptable halfway house for voters mov- 
ing from the Whigs to the Republicans. Significantly, a key tenet in 
Know Nothing ideology was contempt for all political parties and 
professional politicians. They were suspected (rightly) of wanting to 
fudge the crucial issues of the day: immigration and slavery. 6 Not 
coincidentally, the same contempt has been surfacing again re- 
cently—in Ross Perot's 1992 presidential vote and in the burgeon- 
ing term-limit movement. 

These things happen. Ignoring immigration has already proved 
extremely harmful to the health of the Canadian Progressive Con- 
servative government. In the 1993 Canadian federal election, it was 
annihilated, going from 159 to 2 seats in the House of Commons. 
Its leader, Prime Minister Kim Campbell, was defeated in her own 
district. The party quite possibly will never recover. 

Several factors were at work. But immigration was one. The 
leader of the newly founded Reform party, Preston Manning, 
broke with the Canadian all-party consensus and offered some (ex- 
tremely moderate) criticism of the current massive influx. He was 
denounced as a racist, as usual. But Reform leapt from one to fifty- 
two seats and totally displaced the Progressive Conservatives in 
their historic stronghold of western Canada. 

Abraham Lincoln, who himself indirectly benefited from the last 
great party disruption associated with immigration, authored one 
of his famous sayings on this subject: 


If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never 
regain their respect and esteem. You may fool all of the people some of 
the time; you can even fool some of the people all of the time; but you 
can* t fool all of the people all of the time. 

For the leaders of democratic political parties, this is no mere 
matter of principle. It is a matter of prudence. 



It is commonly said that America is more than a nation; it is an 
idea. My thesis today is the precise opposite: America is more than 
an idea; it is a nation. 


Boston University, March 31, 1993 

There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. 
. . . The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, 
of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, 
would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationali- 


speech before the Knights of Columbus, New York, October 12, 1915 


££ ~r mmigration isn't the sort of threat to us that it might be to 
other nations. America is exceptional " But is America ex- 
ceptional enough? 
We've all seen a speeded-up film of the cloudscape. What appears 
to the naked eye to be a panorama of almost immobile grandeur 
writhes into wild life. Vast patterns of soaring, swooping movement 
are suddenly discernable. Great towering cumulonimbus forma- 
tions boil up out of nowhere, dominating the sky in a way that 
would be terrifying if it were not in real life so gradual that we are 
barely aware that anything is going on. 

This is a perfect metaphor for the development of the 
American nation. America, of course, is exceptional. What is excep- 
tional about it, however, is not the way in which it was created — but 
the speed. 


On fast-forwarding film, the great cloud formations boil up so 
that they dominate the sky. But they also unravel and melt away. 
And just as the American nation was made with unusual speed, so it 
is perfectly possible that it could be unmade. 

Historically speaking, the whole American episode could have 
come and gone in the twinkling of an eye. 


Let's start with a definition. What is a "nation-state"? It is the polit- 
ical expression of a nation. And what is a "nation"? It is an ethno- 
cultural community — an interlacing of ethnicity and culture. 
Invariably, it speaks one language. 

In recent years in the United States, there has been a tendency to 
emphasize the cultural part of the equation. But this is to miss a 
critical point. The word "nation" is derived from the Latin nescare, 
to be born. It intrinsically implies a link by blood. A nation in a real 
sense is an extended family. The merging process by which all na- 
tions are created is not merely cultural, but to a considerable extent 
biological, through intermarriage. 

In his recent book Pandaemonium, Senator Daniel Patrick 
Moynihan even used this rigorous definition, in an effort to capture 
both culture and ethnicity: a nation is "a group of people who be- 
lieve they are ancestrally related. It is the largest grouping that 
shares that belief "* (Moynihan's italics). 

Some American commentators, for various reasons, find the idea 
of a nation's common ethnicity deeply distressing. They regularly 
denounce references to the subject as "nativism" or "tribalism." 

Ironically, when I studied African history in college, my tutor de- 
precated any reference to "tribes." These small, primitive and inco- 
herent groupings should, he said, be dignified as "nations." 

Which suggests a useful definition: tribalism is nationalism of 
which the politically correct disapprove. 

In discussing nations and the nation-state, Americans suffer from 
a certain cultural deprivation. They have two peculiar difficulties, 
which might look minor but in fact have serious results. 


Peculiar American Difficulty 1: Semantic 

American editors are convinced that the term "state" will confuse 
their readers unless reserved exclusively for the component parts of 
the United States — New York, California, etc. So when talking 
about sovereign political structures, where the British would use 
"state," the Germans "staat" and the French "V&tat" journalists 
here are compelled to use the word "nation." 

Thus in the late 1980s it was common to see press references to 
"the nation of Yugoslavia." Of course, Yugoslavia's problem was 
precisely that it was not a nation at all, but a state that contained 
several different small but fierce nations — Croatia, Serbia, etc. 

(In my helpful way, I've been trying to introduce, as an alterna- 
tive to "state," the word "polity" — defined by Webster as "a politi- 
cally organized unit." But it's quite hopeless. Editors always 
confuse it with "policy." I've also tried "country," which is some- 
times an alternative in British English. No good either. They seem 
to think that's a type of music.) 

This definitional difficulty explains one of the regular blood 
sports of U.S. politics: uproar because someone has unguardedly 
described America as a "Christian nation." Of course, in the sense 
that the vast majority of Americans are Christians, this is nothing 
less than the plain truth. It is not in the least incompatible with a 
secular state (polity). 

• result: Americans who confuse basic terms in this way must inevi- 
tably also get confused about what a nation-state is, what its function 
is, and what it requires in order to survive. 

Specifically, they will tend to think that America is a purely politi- 
cal construct, with no particular ethnic or cultural content at all. 

Peculiar American Difficulty 2: Perceptual 

No discussion of U.S. immigration policy gets far without someone 
making this helpful remark: "We are a nation of immigrants. " 
As an immigrant myself, I always pause respectfully. You never 


know. Maybe this is what they're taught to chant in schools nowa- 
days, a sort of multicultural Pledge of Allegiance. 

But it secretly amuses me. Do they really think other nations 
sprang up out of the ground? ("Autochthonous" is the classical 
Greek word.) The truth is that all nations are nations of immi- 
grants. But the process is usually so slow and historic — extending 
over hundreds and even thousands of years — that people overlook 
it. They take for mountains what are merely clouds. 

This is obvious in the case of the British Isles, from which — 
including Ireland — the largest single proportion of Americans is 
still derived. You can see it in the place-names. Within a few miles 
of my parents' home in the north of England, the names are Roman 
(Chester, derived from the Latin for camp), Saxon (anything ending 
in -ton, town, like Oxton), Viking (by, farm, like Irby) and Norman 
French (Delamere). 

At times, these successive waves of peoples were clearly living 
cheek by jowl. Thus among these place-names is Wallesey, Anglo- 
Saxon for "Island of the Welsh"— "Welsh" being derived from the 
word used by low-German speakers for foreigners wherever they 
met them, from Wallonia near the mouth of the Rhine to Wallachia 
near the mouth of the Danube. This corner of the English coast 
continued as home to some of the pre-Roman Celtic stock, not all 
of whom were driven west into Wales proper, as was once sup- 

Even the English language that America speaks today (or at least 
spoke until the post- 1965 fashion for bilingual education) reflects 
the fact that the peoples of Britain merged, eventually. Their sepa- 
rate contributions can still be traced in it. 

Every nation in Europe went through the same process. Even the 
famously homogeneous Japanese show the signs of ethnically dis- 
tinct waves of prehistoric immigration. 

But merging takes time. After the Norman Conquest of England 
in 1066, it was nearly three hundred years before the invaders were 
assimilated to the point where court proceedings in London were 
again heard in English. And it was nearly nine centuries before 
there was any further large-scale immigration into the British 
Isles — the Caribbean and Asian influx after World War II. (There 


was movement within the British Isles, of course: most English 
Catholics are of Irish stock* albeit totally assimilated.) 

Merging takes time — except in America. Here the process has 
been uniquely rapid. Thus about 7 million Germans have immi- 
grated to the United States since the beginning of the nineteenth 
century. Their influence has been profound. To my British eye it 
accounts for the odd American habit of getting up in the morning 
and starting work. About 58 million Americans told the 1990 cen- 
sus that they were wholly or partly of German descent. But only 1.5 
million spoke German in their homes. 

• result: Americans who take this "nation of immigrants" stuff too 
seriously tend to assume that they cannot share a common ethnic 
heritage. But this is false — at least, it was false until the Great Wave 
of Third World immigration unleashed by the 1965 Immigration 

In fact, as we have seen, 

1. At the time of the American Revolution, the white population in the 
Thirteen Colonies was 60 percent English, 80 percent British, 98 per- 
cent Protestant. 

2. The United States population would still be at about half its current 
level if there had been no immigration at all after 1790. 

3. As late as 1960, nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population was Euro- 
pean, the great bulk of it closely related, from the British Isles, Ger- 
many and Italy. 


It is because of these difficulties in the American debate that Ben 
Wattenberg is able to get away with talking about the United States 
becoming a "Universal Nation." 

On its face, this is a contradiction in terms. A nation cannot be 
universal because it is, of its essence, specific — ethnically and cul- 
turally. Maybe you could have a universal state (. . . polity), al- 
though I'm skeptical — see below, page 208. But that's not the same 


It's possible, as Wattenberg variously implies, that he means the 
diverse immigrant groups will eventually intermarry, producing 
what he calls, quoting the English poet John Masefield, a "won- 
drous race." Or that they will at least be assimilated by American 
culture, which, while globally dominant, is hardly "universal." But 
meanwhile there are hard questions: 

• What language is this "universal nation* going to speak? How is it 
going to avoid ethnic strife? dual loyalties? collapsing like the Tower 
of Babel? 

Wattenberg is not asked to reconcile these contradictions, although 
he is aware of at least some of them, because the ideal of an Ameri- 
can nation-state is in eclipse in the American political conversation. 

Ironically, the same weaknesses were apparent in the rather simi- 
lar concept of "cultural pluralism" which was invented by Horace 
M. Kallen at the height of the last great immigration debate, before 
the Quota Acts of the 1920s. Kallen, like many of today's immigra- 
tion enthusiasts, reacted emotionally against the calls for "Ameri- 
canization" that the 1890-1920 immigrant wave provoked. He 
argued that any unitary American nationality had already been dis- 
sipated by immigration (sound familiar?). Instead, he said, the 
United States had become merely a political state (. . . polity) con- 
taining a number of different nationalities. 

Kallen left the practical implications of this vision "woefully un- 
derdeveloped" (in the words of the Harvard Encyclopedia of Ameri- 
can Ethnic Groups). 2 It eventually evolved into a vague approval of 
tolerance, which was basically how Americans had always treated 
immigrant groups anyway — an extension, not coincidentally, of 
how the English built the British nation. 

But in one respect, Kallenism is very much alive: he argued that 
authentic Americanism was what he called "the American idea." 
This amounted to an almost religious idealization of "democracy." 
Again, this was left underdeveloped, but it appeared to have as 
much to do with non-discrimination and equal protection under the 
law as with elections. Today, a messianic concern for global "de- 
mocracy" is sometimes suggested to Americans as an appropriate 
objective for post-Cold War foreign policy. 



And Kallenism underlies another helpful remark that someone al- 
ways makes in any discussion of U.S. immigration policy: "America 
isn't a nation like the other nations— it's an idea. " 

Once more, this American exceptionalism is really more a matter 
of degree than kind. Many other nations have some sort of idea- 
tional reinforcement. Quite often it is religious, such as Poland's 
Roman Catholicism; sometimes cultural, such as France's ineffable 
Frenchness. And occasionally it is political. 

Thus — again not coincidentally — the English used to talk about 
what might be described as the "English Idea": English liberties, 
their rights as Englishmen and so on. Americans used to know im- 
mediately what this meant. As Jesse Chickering wrote in 1848 of his 
diverse fellow Americans: 

English laws and institutions, adapted to the circumstances of the 
country, have been adopted here. . . . The tendency of things is to 
mould the whole into one people, whose leading characteristics are 
English, formed on American soil. 3 

What is unusual in the current American immigration debate, 
however, is that Americans are now being urged to abandon the 
bonds of a common ethnicity so completely and to trust instead en- 
tirely to ideology to hold together their state (. . . polity). 

This is an extraordinary experiment, like suddenly replacing all 
the blood in a patient's body. History suggests little reason to sup- 
pose it will succeed. The political form of the Estados Unidos Mex- 
icanos is essentially that of the United States of America. But the 
content is Mexican, and the result very different. Conversely, the 
universalisms of Christendom and Islam have been long ago sund- 
ered by national quarrels. More recently, the much-touted "Soviet 
Man," the creation of much tougher ideologists using much 
rougher methods than anything yet seen in the United States, has 
turned out to be a Russian, Ukrainian or Kazakh after all. 

Which is why Shakespeare has King Henry V say, before the bat- 
tle of Agincourt, not "we defenders of international law and the 


dynastic principle as it applies to my right to inherit the throne of 
France," but 

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers . . . 

However, although intellectuals may have decided that America 
is not a nation but an idea, the news has not reached the American 
people — especially that 5.25 percent who sternly told the Census 
Bureau in 1990 that their ethnicity was "American." 

(They seem usually to be of white Colonial stock, often from the 
mountain South. Significantly, the tendency to self-identify as 
"American" diminishes very sharply wherever ethnic diversity ap- 
pears. Thus self-reported "Americans" are a high proportion of the 
homogeneous English-origin counties of Maine — but not in those 
counties that also have French-origin settlements. 4 ) 

And any such talk about being an idea rather than a nation 
would have been viewed by Americans with amazement (probably 
something louder than amazement in the case of Theodore Roose- 
velt) throughout most of American history. 

Notwithstanding the Declaration of Independence's charge that 
George III was hindering "Migration," it is highly (and con- 
sciously) culturally specific. In Thomas SowelPs terms, it was writ- 
ten out of awareness of a particular ethnic "message." 

Thus another of the Declaration's charges is that George III had 
abolished "the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Prov- 
ince" — meaning the British Parliament's 1774 Quebec Act, which 
obstructed American westward expansion and which also extended 
legal rights to Roman Catholics, so distrusted at the time that they 
were initially banned from holding office in seven of the thirteen 
new American states. 5 It referred to "our British Brethren," re- 
proaching them for ignoring "our common Kindred" and "Consan- 
guinity." And it roundly denounced, without any sensitive 
multicultural mumbling about "Native Americans," "the merciless 
Indian Savages, whose known Rule of Warfare, is an undistinguished 
Destruction, of all Ages, Sexes and Conditions. " 

Symbolically, the Constitution announces its purpose is "to form 


a more perfect Union . . [for] ourselves and our posterity" — the 
Founders' posterity, not posterity in general. 

John Jay's first essay in The Federalist Papers, written as part of 
the campaign to get the Constitution ratified, began by laying down 
as an axiom that it was precisely America's ethnic and cultural ho- 
mogeneity that made the great experiment possible. Americans, Jay 
wrote, were 

. . . one united people — a people descended from the same ancestors, 
speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to 
the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and 
customs . . . a band of brethren . . . 6 [my italics] 

Some hundred years later, Theodore Roosevelt in his Winning of 
the West traced the "perfectly continuous history" of the Anglo- 
Saxons from King Alfred to George Washington. He presented the 
settling of the lands beyond the Alleghenies as "the crowning and 
greatest achievement" of "the spread of the English-speaking peo- 
ples," which he saw in explicit terms: 

... it is of incalculable importance that America, Australia, and Si- 
beria should pass out of the hands of their red, black and yellow ab- 
original owners, and become the heritage of the dominant world 

(It's important to note that Roosevelt was personally a liberal on 
racial matters — particularly in the context of the 1890s, when the 
"Jim Crow" laws imposing segregation were being enacted, by his 
Democratic opponents, throughout the South. He believed that 
those "aboriginal owners" could and should be raised to the stan- 
dards of the "dominant world races." He proclaimed that an indi- 
vidual of any race who could win admission to the "fellowship of 
doers" would be superior to a white man who failed. Of course, his 
language is unthinkably crude to our more delicate ears. But the 
balance he was trying to achieve, between ethnicity and culture, 
standards and tolerance, was daring and difficult. Having tried it, I 

Roosevelt himself was an example of ethnicities merging to pro- 


duce this new, crowning and greatest nation. He thanked God — he 
teased his friend Rudyard Kipling — that "there was not a drop of 
British blood in him." But that did not stop him from identifying 
with Anglo-Saxons or from becoming a passionate advocate of an 
assimilationist "Americanism." 7 

Above all, at the height of the last great immigration wave, Hor- 
ace Kallen and his allies totally failed to persuade Americans that 
they were no longer a nation. Quite the contrary: once convinced 
that their nationhood was threatened by continued massive immi- 
gration, Americans changed the public policies that made it possible. 

As the Great Restriction's national-origins quotas were being 
legislated, President Calvin Coolidge put it unflinchingly: "America 
must be kept American." 8 

Everyone knew what he meant. 


"Pulling up the ladder' — this is exactly what Americans did with 
the Great Restriction of the 1920s, as described in another of those 
helpful lines that some immigration enthusiast uses in every immi- 
gration discussion. 

But pulling up the ladder may be necessary — if the lifeboat is 
about to capsize. 

And the American lifeboat undeniably did stabilize after the 
1920s. It took time. As late as 1963, when Nathan Glazer and Dan- 
iel Patrick Moynihan published their seminal study Bey on d the 
Melting Pot, the ethnic groups that had arrived in the 1890-1920 
wave appeared not to be assimilating into the American main- 
stream. At best, as Will Herberg argued in Protestant, Catholic, Jew 
(1960), there was a "triple melting pot" working within the major 
religious communities — for example, Irish Catholics marrying Ital- 
ian Catholics; German Jews marrying Russian Jews. 9 

But then, just when the media-academic complex had tooled up 
an entire industry based on the "unmeltable ethnics," as they were 
described by social critic Michael Novak, 10 they started to melt. The 
figures are dramatic. According to Robert C. Christopher in his 
1989 Crashing the Gates: The De-WASPing of America's Power 


Elite, half of all Italian Americans born since World War II married 
non-Catholics, mainly Protestants; some 40 percent of Jews marry- 
ing in the 1980s chose Gentile spouses, a phenomenon rare if not 
unknown only twenty years earlier. 1 1 

Christopher, a former Newsweek editor and a political liberal, 
naturally saw this development as an emerging cultural synthesis 
free (at last!) of any nasty ethnic connotations at all. But there is a 
simpler interpretation: the American nation was just swallowing, 
and then digesting — "WASPizing," to adapt Christopher's termi- 
nology — an unusually large and spicy immigrant meal. 

Which brings us to one of the central points of this book: 

• This pattern of pauses for digestion has recurred throughout Ameri- 
can history. Waves of immigration have been followed by lulls right 
back into Colonial times. 

After the Great Migration of 1629-41, there was practically no 
further immigration to New England for two hundred years. 12 Im- 
migration into the rest of the Thirteen Colonies had distinct crests: 
in the 1720s, the early 1750s, and then again from the late 1760s 
until the outbreak of the American Revolution. 13 In between, usu- 
ally because of European wars, the troughs were very deep. 

For the story after the Revolution, look again at Charts 1 and 4 
on pages 30-31. They show, after the turmoil of the Revolutionary 
War, the First Great Lull, remarkably similar to the one earlier this 
century. For nearly fifty years, there was practically no immigration 
at all. The United States grew rapidly through natural increase. But 
the white population remained about what it had been in the 1790 
census: largely English, heavily British and overwhelmingly Protes- 

This was the nation about which de Crevecoeur asked his cele- 
brated question in Letters from an American Farmer (1782): "What 
then is the American, this new man?" Americans were indeed 
new — there were some other Europeans seasoning the stew. But not 
that new. 

This also was the America described by Alexis de Tocqueville in 
Democracy in America (1835) — an irony, given that his name has 
now been adopted by an immigration economic think tank in 


Washington, D.C. That de Tocqueville's analysis still has relevance 
is a tribute to his America's powers of assimilation and cultural 

(De Tocqueville actually had a very low opinion of the immi- 
grants he did see. He noted that in big cities they formed part of a 
"rabble more dangerous even than that of European towns . . . 
[they] carry our worst vices to the United States without any of 
those interests which might counteract their influence." He blamed 
them for recent riots in New York and Philadelphia. And he pre- 
dicted that it would be through the big cities "and the nature of their 
inhabitants" [my italics] that the American Republic would perish. 14 

After the First Great Lull, immigration crested about every fif- 
teen or twenty years: in 1851-54, 1866-73, 1881-83, 1905-7, and 
1921-24. In between it plunged, by as much as three quarters or 

Just as important, the ethnic composition continuously changed. 
Earlier in the century, the largest element was Irish; in the middle, 
German; by the end, from southern and eastern Europe. After 
1924, immigration was reduced to a trickle — but that trickle was 
from northern and western Europe. These variations in the magni- 
tude and makeup of immigration were vital to the process of diges- 

And this pattern of pauses puts a different perspective on the im- 
migration debate. 

For example, immigration enthusiasts invariably try to brush 
aside all concerns about immigration: "All these arguments have 
been heard before. They never came true. " 

Of course, this is illogical. Just because a danger has been averted 
in the past does not mean it cannot happen in the future. Many pas- 
sengers might have climbed aboard the lifeboat safely. One more 
may still capsize it. 

But in fact these concerns, which have been indeed expressed by 
the most eminent Americans going right back to Colonial times, 
were perfectly reasonable. They were rendered moot only by chang- 
ing circumstances. 

Thus Benjamin Franklin worried about German immigration in 


Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony 
of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us in- 
stead of our Anglifying them . . . ? 15 

Franklin was not proved wrong. Instead, German immigration 
was halted — in the short run, by the Seven Years War (1756-63); in 
the longer run, by the post-Revolution Great Lull. 

Similarly, the post-Revolution Great Lull met the concerns of the 
Founding Fathers. Conversely, the nativist anti-Catholic Know 
Nothing insurrection, which had elected eight governors, over one 
hundred congressmen and thousands of local officials by 1855, was 
the reaction, harsh but human, of a Protestant nation that had for- 
gotten immigration and faced apparently imminent inundation by 
Irish Catholics fleeing the 1845 potato famine. 

Thereafter, Know Nothingism abruptly receded. Doubtless, this 
was in part due to the impending Civil War — Know Nothings, as 
we have seen, tended also to be ardent Abolitionists. But there was 
a second factor: the supply of Irish Catholics turned out to be finite 
after all 

First, Irish immigration stopped its exponential increase. Then it 
began a sharp decline. The Irish comprised up to a half of the 
1851-54 wave. Then the Crimean War (1853-56) cut off immigra- 
tion from the rest of Europe, but Irish were still only perhaps a fifth 
or less of this trough. The Know Nothings themselves, an alert and 
literate lot, were instantly aware that their key issue was suddenly 
dying on them. 16 

In this historical perspective, the public policies that excluded 
Asian immigration for nearly a hundred years also appear rather 
different. The California legislature's 1876 report on immigration 
complained that the Chinese 

have never adapted themselves to our habits, mode of dress, or our 
educational system. . . Impregnable to all the influences of our 
Anglo-Saxon life, they remain the same stolid Asiatics that have 
floated on the rivers and slaved in the fields of China for thirty centu- 
ries of time. 17 

Now, maybe this argument had a dark, nativistic motive. But on 
its face it is a highly rational and very specific complaint about the 


difficulty of assimilating immigrants from what was then a pre- 
modern society. 

In the interim, the Orient has modernized. Today, immigrants 
from the area are often viewed (perhaps naively) as the most, well, 
"Anglo-Saxon" of the current wave. 

Historical perspective also discredits another conventional ploy 
in the immigration debate: "How can Xbe against immigration when 
the nativists wanted to keep his own great-grandfather out?" This, of 
course, is like arguing that a passenger already on board the life- 
boat should refrain from pointing out that taking on more will 
cause it to capsize. 

But let's assume, for the sake of argument, that X is Irish Ameri- 
can. Disqualifying him from the debate overlooks the long and 
painful adjustment to America that the Irish, like every immigrant 
group, had to make. The Irish too came to the United States from 
what was still basically a premodern agricultural society. Through- 
out the nineteenth century, they displayed social pathologies strik- 
ingly similar to those of the contemporary American black ghetto: 
poverty, disease, violence, family breakdown, drug addiction (alco- 
hol in those days) and, perhaps not surprisingly, virtually no inter- 

Slowly, over generations, America changed the Irish — and they 
changed themselves. Today, in terms of measures like income, edu- 
cation and political affiliation, Irish Americans are more or less in- 
distinguishable from the mainstream, into which they have 
extensively intermarried. (Well . . . alcoholism is a little higher. But 
so are incomes. 18 ) 

In his Economics and Politics of Race: An International Per spec- 
tive, the Hoover Institution economist Thomas Sowell describes 
this as "historically . . . one of the great social transformations of a 
people." 19 In words that apply exactly to today's immigration en- 
thusiasts, he writes: 

If the Irish were pariahs in the nineteenth century and fully accepted 
in the twentieth century, the moralistic approach sees only society's 
belated change to doing the right thing. It ignores the very possibility 
that the Irish who are accepted today may be very different from the 
nineteenth-century emigrants from Ireland whose personal behavior 


would still be wholly unacceptable to others today, including today's 
Irish Americans. 20 

In short: Irish Americans have earned the hard way their right to 
opinions about who and how many their country can absorb. 

The Irish changed themselves with a great deal of encouragement 
from a notably stern clergy. But the Roman Catholic Church itself 
made an adjustment to America. 

Indeed, the word "Americanization" was invented in the 1850s by 
a Vermont Yankee convert to Catholicism, Orestes A. Brownson, 
who argued in his Brownson's Quarterly Review that the nativists 
had a point: the Irish should assimilate to the American nation that 
had already been formed; the Church should not identify itself with 
Old World autocracy — as Pius DC, after the 1848 revolutions in 
Europe, was increasingly inclined to do. 

Brownson provoked a ferocious controversy. But, today, his 
view can be seen to have prevailed. 21 


Let's be clear about this: the American experience with immigration 
has been a triumphant success. It has so far transcended anything 
seen in Europe as to make the application of European lessons an 
exercise to be performed with care. 

But there are very clear reasons why the American nation has 
been able to absorb and assimilate immigrants. In considering fur- 
ther immigration, its enthusiasts must ask themselves honestly: do 
these reasons still apply? 

One reason America could assimilate immigrants, as we have 
seen, is that there were regular pauses for digestion. Another reason 
is that the American political elite wanted the immigrants to assimi- 
late. And it did not hesitate to ensure that they did. 

Over two hundred years of U.S. history, a number of tried-and- 
true, but undeniably tough, assimilation techniques had been per- 
fected. But today, they have been substantially abandoned. 

The economic culture of the United States has changed signifi- 


eantly— from classical liberalism to government-regulated welfare 
statism. Earlier immigrants were basically free to succeed or fail. 
And many failed: as we have seen, as many as 40 percent of the 
1880-1920 immigrants went back home. But now, public policy in- 
terposes itself, with the usual debatable results. 

"You cant blame the immigrants for our bad policies, " immigra- 
tion enthusiasts are quick to argue. Of course you can't. But if 
there's a thunderstorm when you've got a cold, you don't blame the 
rain. You just stay indoors. Or you go out and get pneumonia. 

Some public subsidies to immigrants are direct, like welfare. Oth- 
ers are indirect, such as the wholly new idea that immigrant children 
should be taught in their own language. This effectively transfers 
part of the cost of immigration from the immigrant to the American 
taxpayer — and to the American schoolchild. 

New York's public school system now offers courses in more 
than a hundred languages. It is hunting for teachers of Albanian, 
who will probably themselves be immigrants. 

And it's not just the American economic culture that has 
changed. So has the political culture. Almost a century ago, the last 
Great Wave of immigrants were met with the unflinching demand 
that they "Americanize." Now they are told that they should retain 
and reinforce their diversity. 

Ethnically fueled "multiculturalism" taught in the public 
schools, as described by Lawrence Auster and by the eminent lib- 
eral historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., in his bestseller The Disunit- 
ing of America, 22 inevitably raises the question: Is there still an 
"American Idea" — and if so, what is it? 

Actually, the outlines of what might be described as the new 
American Anti-Idea are already clear. It's a sort of bureaucratically 
regulated racial spoils system, rather like Lebanon before its ethnic 
divisions finally erupted. Government power is used not to achieve 
economic efficiency, which traditional socialism has ceased to 
promise, but ethnic equity— justified in the name of extirpating 

That's private discrimination, of course. Government-sponsored 
discrimination is not merely acceptable but mandatory, in the form 
of "affirmative action" quotas. 

"Quotas were originally supposed to be remedial," says Profes- 


sor Frederick R. Lynch of Claremont College, author of Invisible 
Victims: White Males and the Crisis of Affirmative Action, "Now 
they are being justified by affirmative action professionals as a way 
of 'managing diversity/ " 23 Indeed, an entire industry has grown up 
holding seminars and training sessions for corporations struggling 
to cope with racial "diversity." 

That "diversity," needless to say, is being introduced into the 
United States essentially by current immigration policy. 

As we have seen, American immigration policy is riddled with 
anomalies. But how about this one? 

• No matter how new, all immigrants from the right "protected 
classes"— black, Hispanic, Asian — are eligible for preferential hir- 
ing and promotion. They are counted toward government quota re- 
quirements that were allegedly imposed on employers to help 
native-born minority Americans. 

Hence the number of Africans and West Indians teaching at 
American colleges. 

Symptomatic of the American anti-idea: the emergence of a 
strange anti-nation inside the United States — the so-called "His- 

If you write about immigration and demography in America, you 
are more or less forced to use this term. But it is a classification that 
makes no sense. It's not racial— most "Hispanics" are mestizos 
(white-Amerindian mixtures) but there are significant numbers of 
whites and also of blacks. It's not cultural — "Hispanics" come from 
countries running the gamut from Europe to the Third World. 
Most absurd of all, it's not even linguistic — many "Hispanics" 
speak only English and, indeed, some are Indian-language speakers 
from Latin America. 

Arguably against their wishes, "Hispanics" are being treated by 
U.S. government agencies as a homogeneous "protected class" es- 
sentially as a result of ethnic lobbying in Washington. They have 
been supplied with "leaders" financed in large part by the Ford 
Foundation. They are now much less encouraged to "Americanize" 
than anything seen in the previous Great Wave. Instead, they are 
being issued with a new, artificial "Hispanic" identity. 


Most Americans don't realize how aggressive this phenomenon 
has become. Linda Chavez, former aide in the Carter and Reagan 
White Houses and now director of the Center for Equal Opportu- 
nity in Washington, D.C., reports that the Washington, D.C., pub- 
lic school system attempted to place her son in "bilingual," i.e., 
Spanish-language, classes apparently solely on the basis of his first 
name, Pablo. His last name, that of Ms. Chavez's husband, is Gers- 
ten. In fact, he did not speak Spanish — and neither does Chavez 
herself: her family has been in New Mexico for generations. But 
there are forces in America working to undo all that. 24 

In effect, Spanish-speaking immigrants are still being encouraged 
to assimilate. But not to America. 

Is the United States still capable of absorbing immigrants? Is it still 
trying? Consider these policies: 

1. Massive, heterogeneous immigration. 

2. "Bilingualism" — i.e., foreign language-ism — and 

3. "Multiculturalism" — i.e., non- Americanism — in the education sys- 

4. "Affirmative Action'' — i.e., government-mandated discrimination 
against white Americans. 

5. Systematic attack on the value of citizenship, by making it easier for 
aliens to vote, receive government subsidies, etc. 

Sounds much more like deconstructionism — the deconstruction 
of the American nation as it existed in 1965. 


Given the one-way nature of the American immigration debate, 
you know what to expect when The Wall Street Journal headlines a 
front-page story "Mosaic of Hope: Ethnic Identities Clash with Stu- 
dent Idealism at a California College. " 

The college in question was Occidental in Los Angeles. The Wall 
Street Journal described it as a "prestigious private liberal arts col- 
lege . . . Founded in 1887 to educate the white elite." Which, of 
course, used to be called the American elite. 


Still, Occidental was apparently successful in achieving this rep- 
rehensible goal. One of its graduates, class of '57, was "bleeding- 
heart conservative" and immigration enthusiast, former Bush 
administration Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Jack 

Now Occidental College is aiming for a different elite. Under its 
president, John Brooks Slaughter, "who," The Wall Street Journal 
tells us, "is black," Occidental "is reaching out for an emerging 
America." In 1987, it 

"went multicultural," aggressively recruiting minority students and 
revamping its curriculum to give more emphasis to non-western cul- 
tures. Today, more than 40% of its 1,650 students are minority. 

Let's not go into the details of what is going on at Occidental. 
Essentially, The Wall Street Journal hints discreetly, the students 
are dividing into warring camps. 

Look, however, at what The Wall Street Journal typically de- 
scribed as "the bedrock fact" underlying the Occidental experi- 
ment: "America's white majority is shrinking, both in relative size 
and importance. " 

The truth, of course, is that America's white majority is NOT 
"shrinking." In fact, in absolute numbers, it is still growing. But it is 
being inundated, quite deliberately, as a matter of public policy fol- 
lowing the 1965 Immigration Act. 

And worth real contemplation are the final lines of the story. The 
Wall Street Journal's starry-eyed hack, one Dennis Farney, is in a 
discussion class entitled "The American Dream." Let me quote 

The students, as diverse as their America is diverse, are gathered 
around a conference table. And their visitor [i.e., Farney] asks: sup- 
pose they were to grade the American civilization, grade it just as 
their professor grades them? How would they grade America? 

It is freshman Jona Goong, a Hawaiian of Chinese ancestry, who 
says it best. 

"If I were to grade America," she says, softly, "I would give it an 
incomplete." 25 


Really. Well, my twin brother and I did have to grade America, 
from a distance of three thousand miles, in the summer of 1967, 
when for various reasons we decided all was lost in England. We 
gave it an A+. And we still give it an A+ . . . what's left of it. 

And — if only for my son Alexander's sake— I'd like it to stay 
that way. 



The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Re- 
publican form of government, and shall protect each of them against 


— Constitution of the United States, Article IV, section 4 

So a nation is the interlacing of ethnicity and culture. And a 
nation-state is its political expression. But all over the world 
in the twentieth century, nations and nation-states have been 
under intense attack. And to the attackers, immigration is a poten- 
tial ally. 

In this chapter, we'll look at two distinguished reactions to 
the nation-state phenomenon, which I think epitomize the two op- 
posing poles of modern sentiment. 

The first is Canadian: from Pierre Trudeau, prime minister 
of Canada almost continuously from 1968 to 1984, the architect of 
the modern Canadian state (. . . polity), and probably the greatest 
leader that Canada has produced this century. Which does not 
mean that what he did was sensible— just that he did it on an heroic 


To appreciate Trudeau's position, you have to understand that 
he was and is a very peculiar man. He is a QuSbecois, that is, a prod- 
uct of the French-speaking province (and emergent nation-state) of 
Quebec. But he is also a man of the left — much further left, indeed, 
than has been generally appreciated. As a leftist, his conscious ide- 
ology had no place for nationalism: the workers of the world were 
supposed to unite, dammit. 

And there was a further factor. To be on the extreme left in 
French-speaking Quebec in the 1940s, when the province was to- 
tally dominated by the Roman Catholic Church and the authoritar- 
ian nationalist Union Nationale government of Maurice Duplessis, 
was a very uncomfortable experience. And it produced in Trudeau 
a special case of the neurosis that is widespread in the Western 
world today: an absolutely reflexive horror and fear of nationalist 

In Trudeau's case, he seems to this day to view nationalism as 
clerical fascism. And indeed Duplessis was suspiciously unen- 
thusiastic about World War IL 

All of which may puzzle Americans who remember Trudeau as a 
"Canadian Nationalist." The reason: "Canadian Nationalism," as 
developed in the 1960s, was always an artificial invention, the popu- 
list disguise for the anti-American and statist ambitions of various 
intellectuals and bureaucrats. On the real, ethnocultural, national- 
ist issues like language and immigration, Trudeau showed clearly 
that he believed government policies, not people, were what 

This is how he put it in 1962: 

The road to progress lies through international integration; national- 
ism will have to be abandoned as a rustic and clumsy tool . . . 

He described his vision of a bilingual, bicultural Canada which 
would simultaneously be the political expression of both English 
and French Canadians as 

an example to all those new Asian and African states . . . who must 
discover how to govern their polyethnic populations with proper re- 
gard for justice and liberty. What better reason for cold-shouldering 


the lure of annexation to the U.S.? Canadian federalism is an experi- 
ment of major proportions; it could become a brilliant prototype for 
the molding of tomorrow's civilization. 1 

And in a speech before the U.S. Congress, implicitly appealing 
for help after Quebec had rejected his vision and elected a separatist 
government, Trudeau claimed that the breakup of Canada into its 
component nations would be 

[a] crime against the history of mankind 2 

An extraordinary claim given that it was an American president, 
Woodrow Wilson, who in effect invented the principle of self- 
determination and imposed it on the dubious European Great Pow- 
ers at Versailles in 1 9 1 9. 

Note the quaint but telling streak of "Internationale"-style emo- 
tionalism and imagery running through Trudeau's comments. And, 
in particular, the antithesis Trudeau posits between "progress" and 
the "rustic" tool of nationalism. It's reminiscent of the passage in 
The Communist Manifesto where Marx and Engels take a moment 
off from bashing the beastly bourgeoisie to congratulate them for at 
least rescuing the proletariat from what they described, succinctly, 
as "rural idiocy." 

And it's highly significant. Because it epitomizes a key assump- 
tion: that nationalism is premodern — that is, it is out of place in the 
rational, efficient, impersonal, secular society that began to emerge 
with the Industrial Revolution. 

Political scientists call this epochal social change "moderniza- 
tion." By this standard, nationalism does look emotional, tradi- 
tional, prescriptive. Surely with the spread of education and 
enlightenment, it will disappear? 


This assumption is extremely widespread. Here's an editorial from 
The New York Times (December 9, 1992) dealing with the distur- 


bances in Germany caused by the collapse of Bonn's ludicrously 
liberal "refugee" policy and the subsequent immigrant influx, 
which reached the astonishing rate of 60,000 a month. 

"Nobody," the Times editorialists wrote, "can reasonably fault 
Germany for trying to limit and regulate a huge influx of refugees." 

Naturally, this means they do want to fault Germany for trying 
to limit and regulate a huge influx of refugees. 

The Times went on: 

But Chancellor Helmut Kohl and the Bonn political establishment 
have regrettably taken the easy way out. They would do better to set 
a quota on immigrants and nurture a more pluralist society by adopt- 
ing a formula for citizenship based on residence rather than blood 

Equally distressing is Bonn's failure to revise an outdated naturali- 
zation law rooted in ethnicity. Under the existing system, a Turkish 
guest worker who has lived in Germany for 30 years and speaks Ger- 
man fluently is denied the citizenship automatically granted a Rus- 
sian-speaking immigrant who can prove German ancestry. 

What we have here is a total absence of any understanding of the 
nation as family, to which outsiders may be admitted indeed, but 
only under very special circumstances and with great care. And if 
there was any nation in the world where care should have been 
taken — for God's sake! — it was Germany. Instead, the "Bonn po- 
litical establishment," in its eagerness to please foreign critics, has 
apparently succeeded in raising the ghost of Nazism. 

But, more generally, note again the curious assumption that 
"naturalization law rooted in ethnicity" is somehow "outdated." In 
fact, exactly the reverse is true: 

• The nation-state, the sovereign political entity based on a particular 
ethnicity, is the product of modernization. 

What are now regarded as archetypal nation-states, like Ger- 
many and Italy, were actually united only in the nineteenth century. 
Most human historical experience has been in multiethnic states 
(. . . polities). But they have also been primitive — and tyrannies. 


Multinational and multilingual states (. . . polities) organized on 
other principles, like the Hapsburg Empire, did not survive into the 
modern, democratic age. 
And for good reason. The essential point is this: 

• Modern society is organized around the free flow of information. 

So modernization inevitably puts a premium on linguistic unity. 
It doesn't matter what language the people in the next village speak 
if you have no truck or trade with them. But if you do, it does. 

• special note for economists: When you think about it, the 
emergence of the nation-state on the world scene is very much like 
the simultaneous emergence of the firm in developing capitalist 
economies. Both can be traced to lower transaction costs, efficien- 
cies in the transmission of information and the superior economies 
of specialization. 


There's a very significant passage in the Canadian novel Two Soli- 
tudes, by Hugh MacLennan. MacLennan is a real party-line "Ca- 
nadian Nationalist" and I'm sure would be highly annoyed by the 
use to which I put his work. But that's what happens to you when 
you write books. His title refers to the mutual isolation that pre- 
vailed between English and French in Canada, which MacLennan, 
writing in 1945, felt should be broken down. And in this passage he 
did achieve true artistic insight — which, Plato assures us in one of 
his Socratic dialogues, is unrelated to intelligence. 

It's the fourth year of World War I, which Canada entered when 
Britain did, in 1914. This decision split the country, as always on 
ethnic lines: English Canadians for, French Canadians against. 

An English-speaking girl is picking up her mail at a French- 
owned store in deepest rural Quebec. And she sees an envelope 
marked O.H.M.S. — (On His Majesty's Service). Instantly she 
knows what it is: notification that her husband has been killed at 
the front. 


It was a day in early July when Janet Methuen stood in Polycarpe 
Drouin's store with a letter in her hand from His Majesty the King, 
via the Canadian Ministry of Defence. She read it through, and when 
she had finished she lifted her head and looked around the store, see- 
ing nothing. She began to walk forward and bumped into the side of 
the Percheron model, her arms hanging at her sides, the letter in one 
hand and the envelope in the other. 

Drouin came from behind the counter. His voice was soft and 
kind, his face wrinkled, his eyes friendly. "You are all right, Ma- 

Janet turned her head rigidly and saw his tap-like nose and the 
wrinkles about his eyes blur and then water into focus. She saw him 
look at the letter in her hand and immediately she lifted her chin. She 
was as pale as unbleached muslin. 

"I get you a drink, maybe?" Drouin said. 

She heard her own voice, like a scratchy phonograph in another 
room, "I'm quite all right, thank you." But she continued to stand 
without moving. 

Drouin went to the kitchen behind the store and returned with a 
glass of water, spilling some of it in his hurry. When he offered it she 
gave him a frozen smile, "I'm quite all right, thank you," she re- 
peated tonelessly. 

Her mind kept repeating a phrase she had read some months 
before in a magazine story: "I mustn't let people see it ... I mustn't 
let people see ... I mustn't let . . ." The words jabbered in her mind 
like the speech of an idiot. 

Drouin looked sideways at the only other person in the store, a 
farmer who had come in to buy some tar paper. Their eyes met and 
both men nodded. The farmer had also seen the long envelope with 
O.H.M.S. in one corner. 

"Get a chair, Jacques," Drouin said in French. "The lady wants to 
sit down." But before the men could get one to her, Janet went to the 
door and went out. The silence in her wake was broken as the chair 
hit the floor. Drouin shook his head and went around the counter. 
"That's a terrible thing," he said. 

"Her husband, maybe?" 

"The old captain [Janet Methuen's father-in-law] says her husband 
is overseas." 

The farmer scratched his head. "When I saw that letter this morn- 
ing," Drouin went on, "I said to my wife, that's a bad thing, a letter 


like that. You never hear anything good from the government in Ot- 
tawa, I said." 

The farmer was still scratching his head. "And she didn't cry," he 
said. "Well, maybe she doesn't know how." 

Drouin bent forward over the counter in his usual jack-knife posi- 
tion. After a time, he said, "You can't tell about the English. But 
maybe the old captain will be hurt bad," he added, as though he had 
just thought of it. 

To any WASP, of course, this girl's reaction is perfectly normal. 
What MacLennan is tapping into here is the fact that cultural atti- 
tudes toward things like bereavement differ profoundly and persis- 
tently, much more so than is often realized. 

And these cultural differences result in incomprehension and 
sometimes in serious conflict. Which is why the nation-state, where 
everyone understands one another, is an efficient way of organizing 
human beings. In economists' jargon, they have lower transaction 

But there's a second point. MacLennan has the storekeeper say 
to his crony: 

"When I saw that letter this morning, I said to my wife, that's a bad 
thing, a letter like that. You never hear anything good from the gov- 
ernment in Ottawa, I said." 3 

This is the genuine voice of premodern Quebec. And Quebec, re- 
ally until the 1960s, was premodern. Goldwin Smith, the British 
writer who became Canada's de Tocqueville, compared it to a fro- 
zen mammoth preserved in the tundra. Louis Joseph Papineau, 
who led an unsuccessful rebellion against British rule, provided a 
classic description of this premodern way of life in the 1830s: 

Our people don't want English capital nor English people here, — 
they have no ambition beyond their present possessions and never 
want to go beyond the sound of their own Church bells. 4 

In premodern societies, frozen mammoths can slumber peace- 
fully. Ethnic groups can coexist because they rarely have to deal 
with each other. 


But in modern societies, held together from top to bottom by in- 
formation flows, there are just too many points of contact. When 
people do start to hear something good from their government, in 
the form of services, or even to hear from it at all, it starts to matter 
what language it speaks to them in. And in fact one of the first signs 
that Quebec nationalism was getting assertive was a demand that 
federal government pension checks should be bilingual. 

Ottawa's envelopes don't say O.H.M.S. anymore. And not only 
because English Canadian leftists are writing the Queen out of Can- 
ada's history just as Columbus has been written out of America's. 

So if the nation-state is a product of modernization, there's also a 

• Modernization puts a premium on unity. 

Modern societies are held together by information flows. Any- 
thing that impedes these information flows renders them less effi- 
cient. In the first instance, that means linguistic unity. Ultimately, it 
means cultural and perhaps ethnic unity. 


So why is the nation-state in disrepute? One conventional explana- 
tion: "Nationalism leads to wars. " Above all, of course, World War 
I, the disaster from which the civilized world is only just recovering. 

But actually the religious wars of the sixteenth and early seven- 
teenth centuries were just as devastating. And by the eighteenth 
century, these wars had indeed resulted in a reaction against reli- 
gion, to which the nation-state was seen as an antidote. Similarly, in 
terms of sheer murderousness, nothing can touch the explicitly anti- 
nationalist ideology of Marxism. 

The lesson of history is simply this: human beings like war. They 
will always find an excuse for it. 

(My little son jumped, then wheeled to look at me, his face alight 
with joy, when he first heard firecrackers reverberating through the 
Manhattan canyons in the week before July Fourth. He was not yet 
two. But the frenzy to enlist at the outbreak of war in the Britain of 
1914, in the North and South of 1861, was all there.) 


The key to the contemporary campaign against the nation-state 
is sociological: the rise of what Irving Kristol has called "The New 
Class." 5 These are the professionals who run and benefit from the 
state (. . . polity) and its power to tax: the government bureaucracy; 
the educational establishment; the media elite, which interlocks 
with both; and all their various client constituencies, to whom they 
channel tax monies. 

You all know these people. Probably your brother-in-law is one 
of them. Certainly your child's schoolteachers are. What's new in 
the twentieth century is that a common set of attitudes and ambi- 
tions has begun to unify all of them. This is a phenomenon at least 
as significant as the emergence of a class-conscious proletariat in 
the cities of the Industrial Revolution two centuries earlier. 

The idea of the "New Class" has a long, respectable pedigree. Its 
emergence was predicted by the famous Austrian economist Joseph 
Schumpeter. He argued that, although this New Class was finan- 
cially supported by capitalism, it would be alienated from it, be- 
cause it would feel deprived of prestige and power. Hence it would 
be attracted to the government intervention justified by the doctrine 
of socialism. And, Schumpeter predicted, the New Class would use 
its superior political organization to impose socialism regardless of 
the economic consequences, just as the tapeworm doesn't care about 
the health of its host. 

In the context of the present debate, the point is this: 

• The New Class dislikes the nation-state. 

The New Class dislikes the nation-state for exactly the same rea- 
son it dislikes the free market: both are machines that run of them- 
selves, with no need for New-Class-directed government intervention. 

Additionally, all self-respecting elites want to distinguish them- 
selves from the peasants. If the peasants are innocently patriotic, 
the elite will favor a knowing internationalism. 

The Australian sociologist Katherine Betts discovered this phe- 
nomenon in Ideology and Immigration, her study of the very similar 
Australian situation. Using polling data, Dr. Betts found that while 
nontraditional immigration was viewed with increasing hostility 


among ordinary Australians, the university-educated were sharply 
more likely to favor it. Favoring immigration, she concluded, was 
"part of a cluster of values defining social status for Australian intel- 

And finally, the self-interest of this New Class is international- 
ism: cooperation with the New Classes of other countries above the 
heads of their populations. 

This was brought home to me when I attended a European 
Council meeting, which is the name given to the meeting of political 
heads of the European Community (now "Union") countries. This 
one was in Strasbourg. The actual meetings are in private. Never- 
theless some three thousand journalists were there, a great sea of 
them eating catered European Community lunches off china plates, 
complete with red and white wine — none of the Styrofoam cups of 
coffee and sticky Danish pastries that journalists have to settle for 
in the United States — and all discussing which restaurant they 
would favor with their expense accounts that night. 

And there are four of these things a year. What a boondoggle! 
(Most of the time — I believe the next one was in Birmingham, 
England.) And how easy to rationalize with ringing Europhoric 

The classic statement of New Class attitudes toward the nation- 
state came from Cokie Roberts, reporter for National Public Radio 
and ABC News, during the debate on term limits for congressmen. 
She argued that her father, former Democratic House Majority 
Leader Thomas Hale Boggs, Sr., was able to buck the prejudices of 
his Louisiana constituents and vote against segregated housing be- 
cause of the seniority he had accumulated. 

Roberts claimed "some experienced souls" were necessary in 
Congress to provide "institutional memory, explaining the impor- 
tance of protecting congressional prerogatives . . ." She went on: 

To say that we want only non-professionals governing us is to show a 
basic disrespect for government, and though that sentiment may be 
popular, it is dangerous. We have nothing binding us together as a na- 
tion — no common ethnicity, history, religion or even language — except 
the Constitution and the institutions it created 1 [Italics added!] 


When Roberts says "nation," of course, she means "state" (or 
polity). And, when she says, incredibly, that Americans have no 
common ethnicity, history, religion or language, what she really 
means is frankly if naively made clear: more power for the political 
class, aka "the Constitution and the institutions it created." 

Anything that further deconstructs the American nation — mul- 
ticulturalism, bilingualism — will tend to bring about the situation 
Roberts hopefully describes. And the political class, driven by this 
view of its self-interest, will applaud. 

From the point of view of members of the American New Class, 
immigration is manna from heaven. It gives them endless excuses to 
intervene in society. It enables them to distinguish themselves from 
the xenophobic masses. And, by introducing diverse populations, it 
strikes at the nation-state's Achilles' heel: the need for homoge- 

Eventually, Roberts may even get her wish. Like the Prussian 
army, the American political class will be the nation (state . . . 
polity). Given enough diversity, only their exercise of raw authori- 
tarian power can possibly hold the warring tribes together. By 
reneging on the Constitutionally enjoined duty to protect the states 
"against invasion," the American political class will have not only 
destroyed the nation but also betrayed its obligation to guarantee a 
"Republican form of government." 

But not yet. At the end of the twentieth century, the central issue 
in American politics is what might be described as "The National 
Question" — 

• Is America still that interlacing of ethnicity and culture we call a na- 
tion — and can die American nation-state, the political expression of 
that nation, survive? 


Remember that none of this is necessary. There is no economic ne- 
cessity for this immigration. You have to make a positive political 
Pierre Trudeau, as we have seen, did have a positive political ar- 


gument. It was wildly unrealistic, but it was an argument. He actu- 
ally believed in the abolition of national sentiment. The American 
political class is not as articulate, although no less unreal. 

But — and here we come to the other pole of modern sentiment — 
it's worth considering what the Russian novelist Aleksandr Solzhe- 
nitsyn said on the subject of nations in his Nobel Prize acceptance 

Solzhenitsyn, remember, actually grew up in the Soviet Union 
under an explicitly anti-national ideology. And he went to war to 
defend it. So to reach his present views, he traveled a long road. 
His language is religious, but it could just as easily be moral or 

The disappearance of nations would impoverish us no less than if all 
peoples were made alike, with one character, one face. Nations are 
the wealth of mankind, they are its generalized personalities: the 
smallest of them has its own particular colors, and embodies a partic- 
ular facet of God's design. 8 



We know no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its 
periodical fits of morality. 


on Thomas Moore's Life of Byron in the Edinburgh Review, June 1830 

I don't know if you would call it the Greatest Show on Earth. 
But it's certainly one of the most remarkable spectacles in the 
United States. 
Every sundown at Virginia Street in San Ysidro, over by Stew- 
art's Bridge across the Tijuana River or at any of a number of other 
jumping-ofF points along the Chula Vista sector of the U.S.- 
Mexican border south of San Diego, you can see crowds of illegal 
immigrants gathering— or "staging," in the language of the U.S. 
Border Patrol — waiting for dark so they can cross. 

They are already illegal because many of these staging points 
are well within U.S. territory. The Border Patrol has been com- 
pelled to fall back to a more defensible line. The routine is so well 
established that vendors regularly arrive to sell the illegals food and 
drink. It is so blatant that they will openly light fires to keep warm. 


The Border Patrol knows to within seconds each evening when 
the rush will start. It is so predictable that it could be shown live on 
the nightly TV news — if the national networks in faraway New 
York City were interested. And up on the ridge, despite the dark, 
the Border Patrol officers watching through the powerful truck- 
mounted infrared scope swiveling on its twenty-foot camera tower 
can quite clearly see any illegal crossings within a five-mile range. 
They show up as ghostly white figures on a softly glowing screen. 

Usually, the illegals start to trickle across in small groups of two 
or three, dodging through the brush of no-man's-land. Occasion- 
ally, however, a large group will simply charge isolated officers and 
overwhelm them. The Border Patrol calls this a "banzai." If objects 
are thrown at the officers, as they frequently are on the border, this 
is "getting rocked." 

The Border Patrol knows, also, that most of the illegals will get 
through. There are just too many illegals and too few officers. In 
1992, a total of 565,581 illegals were caught crossing this fourteen- 
mile sector of the border — an average of over 1,500 a night, nearly 
half of all the apprehensions along the twenty-five-hundred-mile 
U.S.-Mexican frontier. (By contrast, along the three-thousand-mile 
U.S.-Canadian frontier in 1992, there were just over 15,000 appre- 

Just over a thousand officers are assigned to the San Diego sec- 
tor. They reckon they catch about one illegal in three. 


People respond to this spectacle on the border in very different 
ways. For example, The New York Times'* A. M. Rosenthal wrote 
another column about immigration in early 1993. Once again, he 
recounted the story of his illegal-alien father (see pages 1 12-13). He 
went on: 

Ever since then I have detested the word "alien." It should be saved 
for creatures that jump out of bellies in movies. Immigrant is a better 
word, historically proud. 
Decades later, prowling along a river with Texas Rangers to see 


them catch crossing Mexicans, I stopped and sat on the ground. I 
said that's enough — I am one of them, the wetbacks, and not them, 
the hunters. 1 

I, of course, was for years a legally resident alien. And it seems to 
me the United States had a perfect right to call me anything it 

There can be no doubt that many of Rosenthal's readers would 
have thrilled to this display of his exquisite sensibility. But, pri- 
vately, I didn't. 

As a matter of fact, it struck me as so self-indulgent as to dis- 
qualify him from attempting to influence the destiny of a nation. He 
reminded me of the captain of a supertanker, on the bridge and re- 
sponsible for steering his ship through shoals, getting drunk on his 
own self-righteousness. 

My own response to the spectacle on the border: mounting irrita- 
tion with the immigration enthusiasts who insist dogmatically, 
gloatingly, that the illegal influx cannot be controlled. Quite obvi- 
ously, it can — especially by the country that put a man on the 
moon. What is missing is not the way. It is the will. 

The Border Patrol has fewer than four thousand officers. (An- 
other thousand were promised in the 1990 Immigration Act, but the 
funds were never appropriated.) The service is so underfunded that 
it cannot field enough vehicles for the officers it does have. They 
have to chase the illegals on foot, trying to follow directions called 
to them over the radio by the infrared-scope operator. (And there's 
only one such scope.) They are so hemmed about with regulations 
that, for example, your young Border Patrol guide will calmly turn 
his jeep out of the immediate battle zone for a few minutes, onto the 
1-5 freeway, and immediately point out squads of illegals marching 
brazenly northward on the hard shoulder. The illegals know that 
arrest attempts have been forbidden there, supposedly for fear of 

Incredibly, as late as 1991 there was not even a frontier fence in 
the San Diego sector, nor any lights. Illegals drove across the bor- 
der in vehicles, several abreast. The U.S. government had to be lit- 
erally shamed into action: Muriel Watson, a Border Patrol officer's 
widow, organized a monthly demonstration whereby enraged pri- 


vate citizens began driving to the border at night and simulta- 
neously switching on their cars' headlights. After her fourth "Light 
Up the Border" demonstration, Watson was interviewed on Roger 
Hedgecock's top-rated radio talk show on San Diego's KSDO and 
achieved national fame. 

Yet seeing the border also brings home how easy securing it 
could be. The new nineteen-mile fence from the coast — a clumsy 
metal barrier, you can see where the illegals dig under it daily like 
raccoons — ends in the Otay Mesa, a cruel-looking desert wall. This 
is terrain you could die in. Some illegals have. Only an estimated 
200 to 250 miles of the U.S.-Mexican border are thought to be pass- 
able at all. The problem is far from infinite. (For further proposals, 
see pages 257-63). 

Similarly, when the dogs start barking in the houses just below 
while you are watching through the infrared scope, you can actually 
see the ghostly illegals and their guides filing down the canyons sud- 
denly hesitate and stop. Which provokes a simple question: Why 
doesn't the Border Patrol use dogs? 

This shocks your young guide. "Have you ever seen a police dog 
in a crowd?" he says. He thinks the solution, reasonably enough, is 
to hire more Border Patrol officers. 

Well, yes. But, thinking about his reaction, several questions 
occur. Such as: why is it acceptable to use police dogs on American 
citizens but not on foreign invaders? And: the dogs don't have to 
eat the illegals. They could be trained differently, to hold them — or 
just to track them. 

But the real answer is something your guide has told you earlier. 
The illegals (or at least their professional smugglers) are acutely at- 
tuned to U.S. Border Patrol activities. They even time their cross- 
ings to coincide with the duty shifts of officers they regard as lazy. 

To paraphrase the ads for the movie Field of Dreams: if these 
people hear dogs baying, they will not come. 

Apparently, no one has worked this out. Which tells you how 
profound is the paralysis that has overcome that once-fabled Yan- 
kee ingenuity in the face of this most straightforward of technical 

It is a paralysis that stems from a reflexive, masochistic submis- 
sion, at a deep psychological level, to the demands of others — a sure 


sign that the United States has become "A Colony of the World," 
to appropriate the title of the recent book on the phenomenon by 
former senator Eugene McCarthy, who frankly says that he now 
regrets co-sponsoring and voting for the Immigration Act in 1965. 2 

Mexican-American ingenuity may be in better shape. In late 
1993, El Paso Border Patrol sector chief Silvestre Reyes organized 
"Operation Blockade," deploying as many of his agents as possible 
right on the border around the clock. The aim was to deter illegals 
from entering, rather than intercepting them after entry — the stan- 
dard Border Patrol procedure, whether to economize on force or 
because only big apprehension numbers scare money out of Con- 

It worked. Apprehensions, a proxy for illegal border crossings, 
fell by three quarters or more. Crimes in which illegal immigrants 
specialize also fell — auto theft was down by half. To Hispanic crit- 
ics, Reyes responded memorably: 

Are we supposed to be less American because we are Hispanic? I 
don't think so. I've fought for this country. I've committed my career 
to controlling its borders. 3 


So there I was, standing next to the infrared truck in the cold dark 
desert night. Some twenty miles to the north, the nightly fireworks 
of San Diego's SeaWorld amusement park were fading in the sky. I 
was momentarily distracted, brooding on this awesome spectacle of 
a great nation morally incapable of defending itself against the most 
elemental invasion. 

The scope operator was keeping up a steady running commen- 
tary. Flurries of phantom illegals were flitting through the darkness 
below us. With his help, his colleagues were catching group after 
group, marching them off with their hands, clearly visible, held high 
above their heads. But, increasingly, ever more were getting 
through and escaping to the north. 

"One went into the bushes to your left," I suddenly heard him 


say. "Looks like he's got a child with him, he's dragging it by the 

To my utter amazement, I was overwhelmed by pure Rosen- 
thalian reflex. Tears filled my eyes. The image seared into my mind. 
To this day, I genuinely can't say whether I really saw it on the in- 
frared screen or not. 

Of course, what I had instantly seen was my own little boy, Alex- 

Followed, perhaps, by some seeping sense of my own gathering 
middle age, the loss of the ruthlessness of youth — there is a reason 
one Civil War cavalry general used to argue that teenaged boys 
made the best troopers. Maybe I'm ready for a job on The New 
York Times. 

At that point on the border the Tijuana River, through which 
that father must have dragged his child, is filled with raw sewage 
(Mexican sewage, although it then flows through U.S. territory). 

And the entire no-man's-land is infested with bandits preying on 
the illegals. When we had arrived at the celebrated Smuggler's Can- 
yon after nightfall, my guide had flatly refused to go up into it on 
the grounds that it was now too dangerous. (The novelist Joseph 
Wambaugh wrote a powerful 1984 true-crime bestseller, Lines and 
Shadows, about a San Diego Police Department undercover 
squad's heroic but ultimately vain effort to control this nightly car- 
nage in the late 1970s. And traffic then was a fraction of what it is 

My young guide, in general remarkably cheerful about the Bor- 
der Patrol's thankless task, said it was the illegals' children that he 
found the most distressing, too. Particularly when the Border Pa- 
trol got there too late and found that the bandits had already 
managed to steal them. 

Steal them? I said stupidly. 

"They sell them to child-prostitution rings." 



The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act did not stop illegal 
immigration, wrote Wall Street Journal editor Robert L. Bartley in 
his contribution to the National Review symposium on my cover 

"nor will any measures that the American conscience will allow. " 4 

I don't believe this. I find that ordinary Americans are always 
much more tough-minded than editorial writers and public officials. 
This is true for a wide range of issues, from crime to welfare to im- 
migration. Possibly it's because ordinary people have to live with 
the consequences of self-indulgence dressed up as compassionate 
policy — unlike the political elite. 

But just look at this spectacle on the border. It's a scandal. It's 
been going on, night after night, for years. And, during all that 
time, the elite custodians of "the American conscience" have paid 
no attention, except fleetingly, when illegal immigrants actually 
land by accident on New York's beaches. 

Border enforcement is another question in the Great American 
Immigration Debate that must be refocused. The question should 
not be: "How can we be cruel enough to enforce the law on the bor- 
der?" The question should really be: "How can we be cruel enough 
not to enforce it?" 

In other words: 

• The real affront to the American conscience is the political elite's 
moral weakness that lures 2 to 3 million foreigners to put themselves 
through this torment every year. 

The reason that father was dragging his child through the 
Tijuana River sewage is that he knew there was a good chance he 
would not be caught. And that if he were caught, he would be set 
free within hours to try again. And that if he made it into the United 
States, he and his child (and eventually quite probably many of 
their relatives) would be lavishly rewarded. 

"Good fences make good neighbors," Robert Frost reports a 


New England friend saying, in his poem "Mending Wall." In this 
case, a good border fence might have kept a neighbor from moral 

Any parent confronted with a two-year-old at bedtime is familiar 
with the human truth: "There are times when you have to be cruel to 
be kind " Only the editors of national newspapers can afford to sit 
on the ground and ignore it. 

The Wall Street Journal's Bob Bartley, of course, resolves this 
moral problem, quite consistently, by moving in the opposite direc- 
tion: a proposed Constitutional amendment, There shall be open 
borders — abandon border enforcement altogether. And, for the ec- 
onomic, social and national reasons outlined in this book, I think 
this is wrong. 

But, in any case, given the inconceivably larger influx that would 
result, open immigration would not end desperate scenes on the 
border (although it would dramatically increase desperate scenes 
north of the border, as the immigrants overran America). 

Public health concerns alone would dictate continued controls. 
Which the immigrants will not respect. Why should they? 

For example, at the moment, a significant proportion of the ille- 
gals that the Border Patrol catches every night turn out to be the 
relatives of those amnestied under IRCA. These relatives will soon 
be eligible to be sponsored by their family members for legal entry 
(after which they will be able to sponsor their own close relatives, 
but that's another matter). However, they refuse to wait at all. 

And their attitude is entirely rational . . . if ominously selfish and 
amoral. American policy has sent a very clear message: it does not 
pay to obey U.S. law. 


American intellectuals approach the issue of immigration in a 
highly moralistic way. And their morality works in only one direc- 
tion. For example, the huge academic industry has produced not 
one serious philosophical treatment of this topic that is other than 
pro-immigration. 5 
The illegal-immigration scandal on the border, of course, is only 


part of the problem. These intellectuals seem to view all of immigra- 
tion policy as an opportunity for public displays of exquisite sensi- 
bility. The immigration debate provides them with the equivalent of 
a revivalist meeting. They get to fall on the floor and speak in 

It definitely slows things down. At other people's expense. 

For example, after my National Review cover story came out, I 
found myself invited to the University of Cincinnati Law School to 
debate immigration. I love this sort of thing. As a provincial from a 
small country, I am fascinated by the way in which America really is 
a federal society. The different urban centers of commerce, culture 
and politics are genuinely independent from — and, indeed, posi- 
tively indifferent to — each other. 

Plus, of course, you could never on your own think up all the 
weird questions people ask. 

The weird question I remember these American law students ask- 
ing on this occasion went directly to the morality of immigration: 

question: Isn't immigration a civil right? 

[answer: No! Are you serious?] 

Isn't immigration a whafl Well, I should have anticipated it, I 
suppose. Current U.S. policy, as we have seen, does indeed treat 
legal immigration as a sort of bastard civil right, extended to rela- 
tives of the arbitrarily selected group of foreigners who happen 
to have shouldered through the door first since the 1965 Immigra- 
tion Act. 

But that was not what the students meant. They meant that all 
foreigners just have a right, a civil right, to emigrate to the United 
States. (In fact, I suspect that, like many Americans, the students 
didn't realize foreigners have an independent existence at all. They 
just viewed them as an exotic type of American minority. Like Hol- 
lywood's Maurice Chevalier or Charles Laughton.) 

And on this level, needless to say, the proposition is hopelessly 
incoherent, logically and morally. How can foreigners have civil 
rights when they are not members of the civitasl And why these for- 
eigners—at the expense of the infinite number of other foreigners? 


Just as we saw on page xvi with Time magazine's funny view of 
what constitutes a "democratic" immigration policy, these stu- 
dents' invocation of the concept of "civil rights" was just another 
example of the degeneration of an idea as it diffuses through time 
and space. They were like Russian serfs, continuing to doff their 
caps at the mention of the title "Czar" nearly two millennia, two 
thousand miles and an unimaginable cultural distance from the 
world of the Roman aristocratic clan called "Caesar," from whom 
the term had originally derived. 

I don't think I shook their simple faith. 

question: Aren't we morally obliged to accept immigrants? 
[answer: Even if we are, that's just the start of the problem.] 

If immigration to the United States is not a civil right, then 
maybe it's an overriding moral right? This notion is particularly 
popular among the men and women who staff the major American 
religious organizations. 

(The laity is notably less enthusiastic. A 1992 Gallup Poll found 
that self-reported Christians, Catholics and Protestants alike were 
not only heavily opposed to current mass immigration — but were 
actually more opposed than those respondents who professed no re- 
ligion. 6 ) 

Curiously, morality seems to have reversed itself completely since 
the 1960s. In 1967, 1968, and 1972 the United Nations passed reso- 
lutions condemning the developed nations for seducing away the 
educated of the Third World — the so-called "brain drain." 

Some splendid scripture gets quoted to support immigration. Le- 
viticus 19:33-34 has resonance for Jews in particular: 

If a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. But 
the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among 
you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land 
of Egypt. 

It's a curious passage, because elsewhere in the Old Testament 
the Children of Israel are instructed to be very careful indeed about 


those alien influences. For example, many Americans might see 
more relevance to their country's current plight in the dire warning 
of Deuteronomy 28:43-44: 

The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and 
thou shalt come down very low. He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not 
lend to him; he shall be the head and thou shalt be the tail. 

Mainline Christian denominations often cite a New Testament 
text to justify immigration: Matthew 25:31-46 — the Last Judg- 
ment. Christ describes a time when "the Son of Man" will divide 
the nations, and condemn one group to hell, saying — 

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye 
gave me no drink. I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and 
ye clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 

Naturally, the condemned nations get upset: 

Then shall they also answer him, saying, 'Lord, when saw we thee an 
hungred, orathirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did 
not minister unto thee?' 

Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as 
ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 

This text is interpreted surprisingly literally by liberal theolo- 
gians, who usually view fundamentalism with disdain. They suggest 
that any "stranger" prevented from entering the United States may 
be, in effect, well, Jesus. 

The problem, however, is this: there are rather a lot ofJesuses out 
there. (See pages 49-54.) No conceivable U.S. immigration policy 
can "minister" to all of them. 

Once again, the sensibility is exquisite. But it is not a practical 
guide to action. 

Let's look at the practicalities. Suppose that the United States 
does have an obligation to "minister" to the poor of the world. 
Then, obviously, it must do so effectively. 


How could the United States "minister" effectively? There are 
two possibilities, depending upon your understanding of the way 
the world works. 

Either: 1. Americans are sitting on a pile of wealth. They should simply 
share it. 

Or: 2. Americans have created a system that produces wealth. They 
can only share wealth to the extent that sharing it does not impair the 

From an economist's standpoint, there is simply no argument 
about which of these possibilities is right. Quite obviously, wealth is 
not a matter of resources: it is a matter of resourcefulness. 

Some countries with large populations and great natural riches, 
like Brazil — or Mexico — are poor. Other countries with few re- 
sources and small populations, like Switzerland, are rich. And 
countries with no resources but fairly large, hardworking and inge- 
nious populations, like Japan, can become very rich indeed. 

In other words, the United States is not a pile of wealth but a 
fragile system — a lifeboat. And lifeboats can get overcrowded and 

On the other hand, lifeboats can tow large numbers of survivors 
along in their wake. In fact, this is usually what happens in ship- 

The lifeline everyone can hang on to, in this case, is trade. By 
buying and importing straw hats (or whatever), the wealth gener- 
ated by the American system can penetrate the remotest fastnesses 
of China (or wherever) . 

But it is not at all necessary for Chinese peasants to come in per- 
son to America in order for the American system to "minister" to 
them effectively. 

In fact, it may be easier if they don't. 

It's worth remembering that in the last century, the same reli- 
gious moralists who now support immigration provided much of 
the motivating force behind imperialism. The partition of the world 
by the Western powers was quite often in response to missionaries' 
demands that Something Be Done about slavery, starvation and as- 


sorted degradations beyond the frontiers of civilization. The great 
poet of the British Empire, Rudyard Kipling, was not being at all 
ironic when he wrote his famous lines applauding the U.S. seizure 
of the Philippines: 

Take up the White Man's burden, 
Send forth the best ye breed- 
Go, bind your sons to exile 
To serve your captives' need. 

A hundred years later, the White Person's Burden is apparently that 
the same "captives" be brought here. It amounts to an inverted im- 
perialism. It confirms the United States as a colony of the world. 

question: What about the American tradition of accepting refugees? 
[answer: What tradition?] 

It's just another manufactured immigration myth. The truth is 
that almost the first federal legislation affecting immigration, the 
Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, was largely motivated by fear of 
refugees from the French Revolution. Subsequently, some immi- 
grants arriving in America were fleeing disruption at home (al- 
though that can be exaggerated — contrary to the general 
impression, for example, relatively few Germans came to the 
United States as a direct result of the collapse of the democratic 
revolutions of 1848 7 ). But there was no explicit recognition of refu- 
gees as such until select groups began to be admitted in the years 
following World War II. The United States did not acquire a com- 
prehensive refugee policy until the Refugee Act of 1980. And, as we 
have seen, that was promptly captured and debauched by special 
interest groups. 

question: But didn't the United States cause all these refugees be- 
cause of its foreign policy? — look at El Salvador! Nicaragua I Vietnam. 

[answer: Does that mean you want to accept 5 million white South 


People who make this argument seem to mean only those foreign 
policy controversies where they disagree with the United States and 
want to punish it. Thus, resisting communism was always pretty 
controversial with a small but vocal group of Americans. Forcing 
the whites to give up power in South Africa was not. 

Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that U.S. policy played a key 
role in breaking the white South African government's will. And 
the country might easily become another Lebanon. 

Well — where's the welcome mat? 

The reality is this: the United States is the only global super- 
power. It is the central pillar of world order. This means there is 
practically nothing for which U.S. action, or inaction, cannot 
be blamed. And there will always be Americans ready to do the 

And to accept it. Which is why, twenty years after Saigon fell, the 
United States is still admitting Vietnamese claiming to be children 
of American servicemen. In 1992 alone, a total of 17,253 arrived 
under the Amer Asian Homecoming Act. Only 4,261 were the al- 
leged children themselves — the rest were their immediate relatives, 
typical of the way "family reunification" tends to take over all cate- 
gories. But of those 4,261, over a third (37 percent) were born more 
than nine months after the last U.S. troops left Vietnam. They were 
obvious frauds . . . but the U.S. government admitted them anyway. 
In fact, as directed by the 1990 immigration legislation, because of 
their "American" fathers, they were deemed to be instant U.S. citi- 
zens. 8 

question: Isn't opposition to immigration just racism? 

[answer: Reread Chapter 8, pages 173-75.] 


"The world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that 
feel," said the eighteenth-century English writer Horace Walpole. 

A good line. But really it should be the other way around. To 
those that feel, causing the United States to admit a few more immi- 


grants (well — a lot more immigrants) generates a warm, self- 
congratulatory, comforting glow. To those that think, however, 
more immigration is quite plainly not a solution, even for the poten- 
tial immigrants themselves. Tragedy is unavoidable. So, no glow. 

In fact, there is no solution to the problem of human pain. It is an 
infinite sea. And to the extent that we might alleviate pain in one 
area, by admitting some immigrants, we can exacerbate it in an- 
other, by excluding other immigrants or by threatening the commu- 
nities of the native-born. 

How can we navigate on this sea of pain? In December 1968, the 
pioneer ecologist Garrett Hardin published a famous essay in Sci- 
ence magazine about another such distressing moral chaos, "The 
Tragedy of the Coigmons." In this essay, Hardin noted that where 
land is held in common, as sometimes in feudal European villages, 
or when the public range was open, as in the American West, it is 
inevitably overgrazed and eroded. , 

Why? Hardin acknowledged that it was in the interest of all the 
herders collectively to be prudent in the numbers of animals they 
put out to pasture. But, he pointed out, it was against the interest of 
any herder individually. This was because the individual herder had 
no means of ensuring that the benefits of his restraint would not be 
guzzled up by his neighbors' beasts. So, for each herder, competi- 
tive irresponsibility was the rational strategy. 

Hardin's insight has been greeted with cheers (somewhat to his 
irritation) by a whole school of free-market economists. They have 
used it to explain so-called "market failure" — those awkward situa- 
tions where free markets don't seem to work. The cause of the trag- 
edy of the commons, the economists argue, is inadequately specified 
property rights. (It's a classic metamarket issue, to use the terminol- 
ogy of Chapter 8.) If the commons were divided up between private 
owners, they say, those owners would have an incentive to look 
after the land. 

And this is exactly what happened in eighteenth-century Britain. 
The commons were "enclosed" by private landlords. And agricul- 
tural productivity was revolutionized. 

Why had the previous generation of economists tended to over- 
look the crucial function of property rights? Perhaps because, par- 
ticularly after the disaster of the Depression, the whole institution 


of private property seemed somehow embarrassing— just as re- 
stricting immigration makes respectable people feel vaguely ill at 
ease, quite wrongly, today. 

Quips rule the intellectual world. And the dominant quip about 
private property was made by the French nineteenth-century social- 
ist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: "Property is theft. " 

But Proudhon also said something else that really does deserve to 
be remembered: "If all the world is my brother, then I have no bro- 
ther. "* This is a succinct statement of the impossibility of rational 
and meaningful moral action if our responsibilities are viewed as 
limitless — the condition that Garrett Hardin calls "promiscuous al- 

The only way to navigate in the sea of human pain is to make 
distinctions. The moral market will fail unless some equivalent of 
property lines is specified. Our rights and duties have to be put in 
some sort of priority. 

And there is an ordering principle in the modern world: once 
again, it is our old friend the nation-state. 

Viewed in the context of the American nation-state, it is immedi- 
ately obvious that, for example, the plight of poor American blacks 
must be considered before that of landless laborers in Latin Amer- 
ica. American blacks are part of the U.S. national community. 

Equally, the numbers and type of immigration must be subor- 
dinated to the integrity of the American nation-state — the lifeboat 
that is towing the economy of the entire world. 

The value of community is not a particularly conservative idea. 
Recently, a group of liberal academics led by George Washington 
University sociologist Amitai Etzioni founded the "Communitar- 
ian Network," designed in part to recapture family issues from the 
religious right. 10 It has not addressed immigration . . . yet. 

Philosophers and theologians might be shocked by the idea that 
we are not monsters if we favor our own nation-state above the 
great mass of humanity. But normal people make a very similar 
moral distinction effortlessly. 

For example, my little son, Alexander, is a New York City baby. 
Directly after he was born, he was visited by a remarkable proces- 
sion of New York career women, all bearing gifts. He accepted this 
as his due. But I found it fascinating. 


New York is a very tough city, particularly for women. And they 
have the additional affliction of having to deal with the Manhattan 
male, by all accounts a distressing species. Yet, whatever the diffi- 
culties and disappointments in their own lives, these young women 
responded to Alexander with unenvious, unalloyed delight. Their 
generosity was something I would not have expected to find in my- 
self in their circumstances. It was one of the rare occasions that im- 
prove your view of human nature. 

Nevertheless, women combine this genuine feeling for all chil- 
dren with a special love of their own. They see no contradiction in 
doing so. And they are right. Only philosophers and theologians sit 
around thinking up imaginary circumstances in which a woman 
would have to choose between all children, or other children, and 
her children. 

The same is true for the nation-state. Like the family, it is one of 
those happy inventions through which human beings are enabled to 
experience the world. It is a foundation upon which a more general 
approach to the world might perhaps be built. But it is not some- 
thing for which a more general approach to the world can be sub- 

Respect for the nation-state, perhaps, is the ultimate family 


While we're on this subject of the morality of immigration, let's ask 
a question of our own: 

• If immigration is such a moral imperative, why don't the Mexicans/ 
Chinese/Indians/Koreans/ Japanese (fill in any of the other 
recent top-ten suppliers of immigrants to the United States) allow 

Don't say: "These countries already have enough people." The 
United States already has more than all of them except mainland 
China and India. 

And don't say: "They're too poor." As we have seen, the whole 


economic theory of immigration, as developed by immigration en- 
thusiasts, is that immigration does not displace workers: it comple- 
ments them. Well, it should work both ways. 

Moreover, most of these countries are lacking in the very skills 
that Americans have in abundance — both technical and entre- 
preneurial. Finally, it's precisely in these low-income countries that 
the returns to these skills are relatively the highest. That's why 
George Borjas argues that Third World immigration to the United 
States is "negatively selected," with the unskilled having more in- 
centive to come. (See page 144, Chapter 7.) And it's why there are 
thousands of young Americans in the former Communist countries 
of Eastern Europe, running small businesses and helping it de- 
velop — between 30,000 and 50,000 in the Czech Republic alone, ac- 
cording to some estimates. 11 

But there is no equivalent young American community in 
China — although its economy has recently been growing at a sus- 
tained real rate of 10 percent a year, the fastest recorded growth 
rate in history and enough to make a lot of millionaires. 

For comparison, note that there are about 28,500 Americans liv- 
ing in Hong Kong (population: 6 million). 12 If you project a similar 
ratio for all of China (population: 1.2 billion), that suggests a possi- 
ble total of 5.7 million American expatriates. 

Well, why not? After all, there are 1.6 million U.S. residents of 
Chinese origin. 

This is why not: if you phone the embassy of the People's Repub- 
lic of China in Washington, D.C., and ask about immigrating, you 
get this answer: 

Chinese embassy official [laughs]: "China does not accept any 
immigrants. We have a large enough population. A foreigner can 
visit on a tourist visa that can be extended for up to six months. Then 
you must leave. To apply for a temporary work permit, you must first 
have an official letter of invitation from a company authorized by the 
Chinese government." 

In 1992, mainland China was the sixth largest contributor of im- 
migrants to the United States — sending 38,907, about 3 percent of 
the total. 


Americans get laughed at a lot when they ask about emigrating 
to the countries whose citizens are immigrating here. Or worse: 

Mexico (number one 1992 immigrant contributor, with 91,332— plus 
122,470 legalized under IRCA): "Unless you are hired by a Mexican 
company that obtains a temporary work permit, or are a retiree older 
than sixty-five who can prove financial self-sufficiency, you must get 
a six-month tourist visa and apply in person to the Ministry of the Inte- 
rior in Mexico City. If your visa expires before the process is com- 
pleted, you must get a new visa and begin again." 

Not surprisingly, there are only about 25,000 legal immigrants to 
Mexico each year. Mexico also devotes a lot of energy to hunting 
down illegal immigrants, mainly from Central America. They are 
deported — 80,000 in the first six months of 1990 alone — without 
right of appeal. Foreign residents are bureaucratically discouraged 
from becoming Mexican citizens. But guess what? Natives of Spain 
and other Latin American countries get special treatment. 13 

south korea (immigrants to the United States in 1992: 19,359): 
"Korea does not accept immigrants." 

Philippines (immigrants to the United States in 1992: 61,022): You 
need to be married to a Filipino or have capital to invest. Otherwise: 
"Put your request in writing and mail it to the Immigration Depart- 
ment in Manila." 

Taiwan (immigrants to the United States in 1992: 16,344): "Wow! I 
can't answer that question. Let me transfer you to my supervisor." 
You need Taiwanese relatives by blood or marriage, or investment 

Jamaica (immigrants to the United States in 1992: 18,915): "You 
cannot simply immigrate to Jamaica. You can only enter Jamaica as 
a tourist [for a maximum of six months] or as a worker. To obtain a 
work permit, you must first have a job offer. Either the company or 
you must fill out the necessary documentation for a work permit. 
After working in Jamaica for more than five years, you can then 
apply for permanent residency status — but you must submit numer- 
ous personal records proving your financial stability and good char- 


acter. Such records include an annual report of total income, bank 
statements and an estimate of the value of all the property you own in 
Jamaica and overseas and your police record. It is quite a process." 

egypt (immigrants to the United States in 1992: 3,576): "Egypt is 
not an immigrant country. We do not permit immigrants. While 
work permits exist, when the specific assignment is completed, the 
individual must leave the country." 

And my personal favorite: 

India (immigrants to the United States in 1992: 36,755): First offi- 
cial: "Are you of Indian origin?" [Told no.] "Submit your question in 
writing to the embassy." [Hangs up] Second official: "Are you of In- 
dian origin?" [Asked if important.] "Yes." [Transfers call.] Third offi- 
cial: "Since you are not of Indian origin, while it is not impossible for 
you to immigrate to India, it is a very difficult, very complex, and 
very, very long process. Among other things, it will require obtaining 
clearances from both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Minis- 
try of Home Affairs." 

Note that these Indian officials are asking not about citizenship, 
but about origin. For those unaccustomed to recognizing such 
things, this is racial ctiscrimination. It is even more stringent than 
the 1921 Quota Act — an outright "brown-India policy." 

The world is laughing at America. 

This hypocrisy on the part of the major emigrant countries may 
be only a theoretical issue for most Americans — as yet. However, 
it's perfectly possible that the American children of immigrants 
from these countries might one day want to take their skills back to 
their ancestral homelands. The liberation of Eastern Europe has al- 
ready attracted some third-generation Americans to take a look. 
And tens of thousands of Brazilians of Japanese origin have re- 
turned to Japan. 

Currently, however, this hypocrisy most hurts the other, poorer, 
Third World countries. For example, in 1983, Nigeria (immigrants 
to the United States in 1993: 4,327) expelled up to 2 million illegal 
immigrants who had come from Ghana, Niger and its other neigh- 
bors. In 1985, it expelled another 700,000. 


The United States, however, is the flower that the rest of the 
world is struggling to pluck. Should it not at least ensure that its 
native-born citizens are treated equally in exchange? 


Critics of current U.S. immigration policy worry about what to call 
themselves. They think their inability to get a public hearing is 
partly because they don't, quite literally, have a good name. 

Being "anti-immigration" just doesn't sound very good. (Besides 
being inaccurate: most critics merely want reform.) Too much like 
being "anti-immigrant." Negative. Nasty. Possibly— aargh!— na- 
tivist. No decent TV news director wants anything to do with that 

As an immigrant, I have a modest proposal for these critics of 

As we have seen, any general moral obligation to minister to 
strangers is met, and more than matched, by the specific and even 
stronger moral obligation to protect our own family. 

And on the political level, the equivalent of the family is the na- 
tion-state — every one of them, in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's words 
quoted on page 233, a particular facet of God's design. 

So I suggest that the critics of immigration adopt a name that has 
a long and honorable role in American history. 

They should call themselves — "Patriots." 







. . . The tradition of British medical science is entirely opposed to any 
emphasis on [treatment]. British medical specialists are usually quite 
content to trace the symptoms and define the cause. It is the French, by 
contrast, who begin by describing the treatment and discuss the diag- 
nosis later, if at all. We feel bound to adhere in this to the British 
method, which may not help the patient but which is unquestionably 
more scientific. 


"Injelititis, or, Palsied Paralysis," Parkinson's Law (1958) 

Just over one hundred years ago, at a Chicago meeting of the 
American Historical Society in 1893, a young historian called 
Frederick Jackson Turner read a paper on "The Significance 
of the Frontier in American History." The argument he set forth 
was to dominate Americans' thinking about themselves for more 
than a generation. 

Turner began by noting that the Bureau of the Census had 
just announced that there was no longer a continuous line of free, 
unsettled land visible on the U.S. map. The American "frontier" 
had closed. 

For the first time since the Puritans came down the gangplank 
with a watchful eye cocked on the distant tree line, America was no 
longer bounded by a clear point beyond which civilization ceased. 
There was no longer a distinct region where Americans could al- 


ways go to claim land of their own, to escape from authority, to 
begin their lives anew. 

Closing along with the frontier, said Turner, was "the first period 
of American history." He argued that the frontier had shaped the 
American character — its informality, equality, self-reliance. And he 
worried about what would happen without the social "safety valve" 
that the frontier had represented. 

A century later, the second period of American history may be 
closing too. It may be time to face the fact that the United States 
can no longer be an "immigrant country." 


For Americans even to think about their immigration policy, given 
the political climate that has prevailed since the 1960s, involves a 
sort of psychological liberation movement. In Eugene McCarthy's 
terms, America would have to stop being a colony of the world. The 
implications are shocking, even frightening: that Americans, with- 
out feeling guilty, can and should seize control of their country's 

If they did, what would a decolonized American immigration 
policy look like? 

Remember that the United States has been on an immigration 
binge since 1965. The hangover will be terrible; the temptation to 
take another drink overwhelming. But the alternative is dissolution. 
To recover, the patient needs a relentless, driving will. And he must 
accept extreme measures, such as total abstinence, which have 
become tragically necessary because of thirty years of irresponsible 

The first step is absolutely clear: 

• The 1965 Immigration Act, and its amplifications in 1986 and 1990, 
has been a disaster and must be repealed. 

And a future, American, immigration policy must be shaped by 
these four principles: 


• The United States must regain control of its borders — over both il- 
legal and legal immigration. 

• Immigration must be treated as a luxury for the United States, not 
as a necessity. 

• The costs of any immigration should fall on the immigrant, not on 
native-born Americans. 

• Any immigration must meet a fundamental test: What does it mean 
for "The National Question"? Will it help or hurt the ability of the 

United States to survive as a nation-state — the political expression 
of that interlacing of ethnicity and culture that now constitutes the 
American nation? 

Ideally, working out the details of a future, American immigra- 
tion policy deserves at least as much intellectual energy as immigra- 
tion enthusiasts have poured into thinking up rationalizations for 
the current chaos. But here are some quick suggestions: 


First line of defense: the border 

The Border Patrol should be increased from its present four thou- 
sand — under the circumstances, a Border Patrol the size of the Los 
Angeles Police Department (about eight thousand) seems hardly 
unreasonable. The border, especially the crucial one hundred miles 
where 90 percent of apprehensions occur, should be sealed (at long 
last) with a fence, a ditch and whatever other contrivances that old 
Yankee ingenuity finds appropriate. Consideration should be given 
to jailing repeat offenders, perhaps in special prisons, for at least as 
long as is necessary to disrupt the economic patterns that have cur- 
rently developed around lax border enforcement. 

Second line of defense: inside the United States 

The Immigration and Naturalization Service's Investigations Divi- 
sion, its main enforcement unit in the United States, should be in- 
creased as urgently as the Border Patrol. Presently, it has a mere 


1,650 employees — and there are at least 4 million illegals here. A 
second Operation Wetback, the much-reviled anti-illegals drive of 
1954, will be necessary. This will require coordinated effort by all 
levels of government, including federal agencies like the Internal 
Revenue Service and the Department of Housing and Urban Devel- 
opment, which currently decline to cooperate with immigration-law 
enforcement. Americans may eventually have to carry identifica- 
tion cards, like many Europeans — and legal U.S. resident aliens, 
whose official status is affirmed by the famous "green card," now 
actually blue. (Perhaps the Clinton administration's proposed uni- 
versal health-care card could serve.) Libertarians will dislike this, 
but it is hardly more an encroachment on personal freedom than 
the income tax. The economic basis of the illegal-immigrant pres- 
ence in the United States must be systematically attacked. This at- 
tack must go beyond tactics like employer sanctions and the ending 
of direct and indirect subsidies from the American taxpayer to 
reach strategic points, like the ability of illegals to remit money to 
their countries of origin without proof of legal residence. Blocking 
financial flows in this way proved useful in the drug war. Other drug 
war expedients suggested by Huber Hanes, a former Border Patrol 
officer who has been circulating a proposed Border Line and 
Boundary bill: fining illegals, who typically carry large amounts of 
cash, and deputizing local police to enforce federal immigration 
law, which — puzzling to non-lawyers — they currently cannot do. 

State and local governments that refuse to cooperate must be 
punished. (Just imagine what would happen if they were practicing 
segregation.) Deportation procedures, for both legal and illegal 
aliens, should be streamlined, and criminal aliens automatically de- 

There must under no circumstances be another amnesty. 

Both on the border and inside the United States, the national ef- 
fort against illegal immigration must be constantly reinforced by 
legislation. U.S. immigration law has already been significantly 
weakened by activist judges. But there is nothing sacred about a 
wrongheaded judicial ruling. The answer is to pass another law. 
When Americans do seize control of their immigration policy 
again, it will inevitably take the form of an epic clash between the 
legislative and judicial branches. 


And the moral pressure will be intense. 

A common argument will be that employed in mid- 1993 by 
Representative Jose Serrano (D.-New York), the Puerto Rican- 
born chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, while de- 
nouncing an anti-illegal-immigrant amendment to the Clinton 
administration's national service plan: "I resent having to prove Tm 
a citizen. . ." l 

To this, the American answer must be: tough. Life is unfair, as 
another Democrat — President John F. Kennedy — once memorably 
noted. Representative Serrano has, presumably, ample means to 
prove his identity. I will be happy to do the same (I don't mind now, 
actually) when there are 2 to 3 million illegal Englishmen crossing 
the border every year. 

Could any American politician be so callous? 

Well, do they want to keep their country? 



Current policy should be reversed: skilled immigration must be fa- 
vored before family reunification. To put it another way, the United 
States could do without that portion of the current influx that is 
below the average American's educational achievement. 

The immigrant influx could be further reharmonized with U.S. 
labor-market conditions by requiring more potential immigrants to 
have offers of employment. Since an immigrant's country of origin 
turns out to be an excellent predictor of likely success or failure in 
the United States, the admissions policy might take account of this 
reality. (Isn't honesty the best policy? To end abuse of their asylum 
process, in 1987 the British frankly banned a whole list of specified 
"troublesome" nationalities from approaching immigration offi- 
cials while in transit — including Somalis, Iranians and Libyans. 2 ) A 
further possibility: Ben Wattenberg's idea of an English-language 
requirement for immigrants. 

No immigration should be permitted from countries that do not 
allow reciprocal emigration from the United States. 



America needs another time-out from immigration. It needs an- 
other pause for digestion, to match the Great Lulls of 1790-1840 
and 1925-65. 

This means a drastic cutback of legal immigration. From the cur- 
rent 1 million a year to perhaps 400,000, the target suggested by the 
Rockefeller Commission on Population Growth and the American 
Future in 1972. Or 350,000, as proposed by Reverend Theodore 
Hesburgh's Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy 
in 1981. Or 300,000, as proposed by FAIR in 1992— which the or- 
ganization describes as a "moratorium" because it would mean 
zero net immigration, since up to some 300,000 people are es- 
timated to leave the United States each year. 

Or, maybe, even less. There is a case for an immediate temporary 
cutoff of all immigration — say three to five years. Thereafter it might 
be advisable to adopt the more flexible Australian and Canadian 
approach. These countries have no specific immigrant total written 
into law, and can vary the total accepted yearly according to their 
labor-market conditions (and to public opinion — ultimately the 
oiily legitimate arbiter). Returning the INS to the Labor Depart- 
ment from the Justice Department, as proposed by Vernon M. 
Briggs, Jr., in his Mass Immigration and the National Interest, 1 
might reduce the current legalistic-civil rights bias. When you have 
a hammer, as Justice Department lawyers do, everything looks like 
a nail. 

Whatever the total, however, cutting back immigration certainly 
means radical reform of the 'family-reunification" policy. Currently, 
the United States is the only industrialized country that allows the 
automatic immigration of "non-nuclear" extended-family mem- 
bers. Had immigration been restricted just to the "nuclear" family 
members of American citizens — parents, spouses and dependent 
children — only about 250,000 immigrants would have entered in 
1992. (And even this flow would diminish in time, because many of 
these sponsoring American citizens are actually themselves recent 

But an automatic quarter million immigrants a year, before any 


skilled immigration at all, is still a lot. In the end, the fact must be 
faced: even close family reunification is not sacred The restrictionist 
legislation in the 1920s, for example, made no provision for it. 
(And, of course, families can be reunited in two ways — the immi- 
grant can always leave.) 

This is a distressing prospect. I know. Maggy and I benefited per- 
sonally from the generous American policy on family reunification. 
She is a Canadian, and I was a resident alien in the United States 
when I married her. Then, because of our marriage, she herself was 
admitted as a resident alien. 

But this was a legal right — hardly a moral right. It was a privilege 
granted by American policy. And the truth is that our lives would 
not have been destroyed if Maggy had not been permitted to immi- 
grate. I would probably be writing a book on Canadian immigra- 
tion policy right now. 

Cutting back on immigration also means cutting back on "refu- 
gees," "asylees" and the various other special categories that have 
been slipped through Congress by interest-group lobbying. Proba- 
bly all these categories should be abolished entirely. Any individual 
member of one of them, of course, could apply to immigrate in the 
usual way. 


Anything that artificially distorts the demand for immigrants, nota- 
bly financial transfers by the government, must be reviewed criti- 
cally. Payments to illegal immigrants must be eliminated This 
includes the transfer implicit in free public education, which means 
another clash with the judges: the Supreme Court's split-decision 
Plyler v. Doe ruling (1982) forcing school systems to accept the chil- 
dren of illegals. And it means a principled stand against all forms of 
government-imposed "bilingualism." 

No immigrant should count as a member of a "protected class" 
for the purposes of U.S. affirmative action programs. Instead, 
Americans should be asking themselves: if the "protected classes" 
are so oppressed in the United States that they must be rescued by this 
unprecedented government intervention, how can it be right to allow 


any more members of the "protected classes" to immigrate into this 


On page 232, 1 raised what I described as The National Question: 

• Is America stiU that interlacing of ethnicity and culture that we call a 
nation? Can the United States survive as a nation-state, the political 
expression of that nation? 

To begin at the most sensitive point: 

The American nation of 1965, nearly 90 percent white, was ex- 
plicitly promised that the new immigration policy would not shift 
the country's racial balance. But it did. 

Race is destiny in American politics. Its importance has only 
been intensified by the supposedly color-blind civil rights legislation 
of the 1960s — which paradoxically has turned out to mean elabo- 
rate race-conscious affirmative action programs. Any change in the 
racial balance must obviously be fraught with consequences for the 
survival and success of the American nation. 

It is simply common sense that Americans have a legitimate in- 
terest in their country's racial balance. It is common sense that they 
have a right to insist that their government stop shifting it. Indeed, 
it seems to me that they have a right to insist that it be shifted back. 

This does not necessarily mean an absolute ban on any group. 
"Numbers are of the essence/' in the words of Enoch Powell, the 
prophetic critic of Britain's disastrous postimperial immigration 
policy. In small numbers, all kinds of immigrants can arrive in 
America and be assimilated. Culture is a substitute for ethnicity. 
But numbers so high that they shift the American demographic bal- 
ance make this impossible. 

One right that Americans certainly have is the right to insist that 
immigrants, whatever their race, become Americans. The full force 
of public policy should be placed behind another "Americaniza- 
tion" campaign, modeled on that during the last Great Wave of Im- 
migration. All diversion of public funds to promote "diversity," 


"multiculturalism" and foreign-language retention must be struck 
down as subversive of this American ideal. Hyphenated identities 
must remain a private matter, as throughout most of American his- 
tory. An English-language requirement for potential immigrants 
would make Americanization easier. The English-language require- 
ment for citizenship should be enforced and the various recent ex- 
ceptions, such as for spouses and the elderly, abolished— they were 
symbolic gestures anyway, and now the symbols are needed else- 
where. There must be a concerted legislative attack on bilingual 
manifestations, beginning with the U.S. Department of Education's 
promotion of "bilingual" education. (The Quebec government's 
defense of French through restrictions on English should be studied 
with care.) A Constitutional amendment making English the offi- 
cial language of the United States could be a decisive step. 

The Census Bureau's category of "Hispanic" should be abol- 
ished. It should be replaced with a national-origin or racial classifi- 
cation where appropriate. 

Judging immigration in the context of the National Question 
sounds grim. But actually it could relax the tension. For example, it 
focuses attention on the demographic impact of immigration. Ad- 
mitting elderly parents (leaving aside the issue of whether they are 
likely to become a public charge) would obviously not have a long- 
term demographic impact. 

In the context of the National Question, the ultimate issue is not 
whether foreigners show up in the United States but when they are 
admitted to the national community and obtain full political rights 
and privileges. In an era of mass movement, the fact that the chil- 
dren of even illegal immigrants are automatically U.S. citizens is 
plainly outdated. It must be ended, by amending the Constitution if 
necessary. It may also be time to consider lengthening the five-year 
waiting period before immigrants can naturalize — perhaps to ten 
years, as in Italy and Germany, or even to fourteen years, as it was 
in the United States from 1798 to 1801. 

"Nationalize, then naturalize" was one of the Know Nothings' 
slogans. But today American citizenship is being acquired in much 
the same spirit as a driver's license. This is why you regularly read 
of "American citizens" being involved in peculiar political intrigues 
in foreign countries — of which becoming prime minister of Greece 


(Andreas Papandreou) and running for the presidency of Serbia 
(Milan Panic) are among the most respectable. 

And, in turn, this makes immigration control difficult. Public 
policy is currently unable to discriminate between a new immigrant 
citizen's arranged marriage back in the old country and a tenth- 
generation American's foreign spouse. It probably should. 

Again, discouraging foreign residents' access to the political 
community may seem rather grim. But actually it could relax the 
tension. Many foreign residents in the United States are perfectly 
happy with their half-and-half status. (For example, the British. 
They are notoriously laggardly about naturalizing, largely because 
they don't feel foreign in the first place.) Recently, there have been 
cases of famous foreign-born wives only reluctantly agreeing to nat- 
uralize because estate-tax law has been changed to discriminate sav- 
agely, and foolishly, against resident noncitizens. 

It may be time for the United States to consider moving to a con- 
ception of itself more like that of Switzerland: tolerating a fairly 
large foreign presence that comes and goes, but rarely if ever natu- 
ralizes. It may be time to consider reviving a version of the bracero 
program, the agricultural guest-workers program that operated 
from the 1940s to the 1960s, allowing foreign workers to move in 
and out of the country in a controlled way, without permanently 
altering its demography and politics. (Many immigration critics dis- 
like "guest-worker" programs because the "guests" tend to become 
permanent and deepen the "channels" followed by illegal immi- 
grants. But it is hard to see how this could be worse than the current 
massive combination of illegal immigration and "citizen children." 
And it may be a transitional solution, allowing the U.S. immigra- 
tion era to close without unnecessary hardship.) 

This new conception may be a shock to American sensibilities. 
Many Americans, like my students at the University of Cincinnati 
Law School, are under the charming impression that foreigners 
don't really exist. But they also tend to think that, if foreigners 
really do exist, they ought to become Americans as quickly as 

However, the fact is that we — foreigners — are, in some sense, all 
Americans now, just as Jefferson said everyone had two countries, 
his own and France, in the eighteenth century. That is why we are 


here, just as the entire world flocked to Imperial Rome. The trick 
the Americans face now is to be an empire in fact, while remaining a 
democratic republic in spirit. Avoiding the Romans' mistake of 
diluting their citizenship into insignificance may be the key. 


What do I really think will happen? 

In politics as elsewhere, if you ask a stupid question, you get a 
stupid answer — or at any rate a terse answer. And asking people if 
they want their communities to be overwhelmed by weird aliens 
with dubious habits is a stupid question. The answer is inevitable. 

Until now in America, chance circumstances and shifts in public 
policy have always combined to change this question before that 
inevitable answer became too embarrassing. But the greater the 
number of immigrants, and the greater their difference from the 
American mainstream, the louder and ruder the answer will be. 

The political elite may choose not to hear. Others, however, will. 

I think . . . that immigration restriction is inevitable in America. It 
will be resisted hysterically. It will be sabotaged in every possible 
way. It will probably require repeated legislation. But that will only 
intensify the ultimate nationalist eruption. 

And no political issue, once it reaches the surface, has more ele- 
mental power than immigration. It could quite easily destroy the 
present political-party system, as it helped to do in the years before 
the Civil War. 

Precisely because of the bitterness of the battle, and because of 
the need to find any sheltering compromise, the ultimate restriction 
will probably be as crude as anything seen in the 1920s. To avoid 
the embarrassing question "Who?" politicians may find it simpler 
to answer the question "How Many?" with "None. " Immigration 
could be ended entirely. 

This would be tragic for the United States. But it would not be, in 
the full sense, a tragedy. Immigration is a luxury, not a necessity. 

But I also suspect that the immigration cutoff will be too late. 
Diversity, the buzzword of the 1990s, will prove divisive — the now- 
forgotten buzzword of the 1970s. The contradictions of a society as 


deeply divided as the United States must now inexorably become, 
as a result of the post-1965 influx, will lead to conflict, repression 
and, perhaps, ultimately to a threat thought extinct in American 
politics for more than a hundred years: secession. 

Deep into the twenty-first century, throughout the lifetime of my 
little son, American patriots will be fighting to salvage as much as 
possible from the shipwreck of their great republic. It will be a big 
wreck, and there will be a lot to salvage. But the struggle must be 
contrasted sadly with the task of completing the "Great Society" 
upon which Americans were encouraged to think they were em- 
barking in 1965. 

And the politicians and pundits who allowed this to happen truly 
deserve, and will certainly receive — in the words of the epigraph 
heading Chapter 5 — the curses of those who come after. 



I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be 


leader of the anti-Royalist parliamentary forces in the English Civil 
War, in a letter to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, 

August 3, 1650 

About a year after my National Review immigration cover 
story was published, I found myself on the rostrum at one 
of the magazine's periodic conferences. This one was in La 
Jolla, California. A session on immigration was about to start. On 
my left was the Japanese American lawyer and commentator Lance 
Izumi, formerly speechwriter to California governor George Deuk- 
mejian and Reagan administration attorney general Ed Meese, now 
a fellow at San Francisco's Pacific Research Institute for Public 

As the audience was assembling, Lance turned to me and 

began talking about the World War I passage from Hugh MacLen- 

nan's novel Two Solitudes, which I had cited in an article in Social 

Contract magazine, and which is reproduced here on pages 227-28. 

"Of course," he said of the WASP girl's reaction to the 


news of her husband's death, which had so confounded her French 
neighbors, "that's exactly how the Japanese would respond." 

Then he got up and delivered an incisive critique of illegal immi- 
gration. He pointed out that it upsets even his liberal Democratic 
father, who feels that, after all, the Izumis were obeying the law 
when they came to America. 

"East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet, " 
said Kipling. But, as I have said, my impression is that most Ameri- 
cans respect and indeed like the East Asian immigrants. Their eth- 
nic "message," as Thomas Sowell calls it, may be different. But it 
apparently has some deep compatibilities. 

It's happened before. Chinese arrived in the South directly after 
the Civil War, working at first as laborers. But they seem to have 
graduated quickly to shopkeeping and, in the era of segregation, to 
a sort of honorary white status. Indeed, to an actual white status: 
unreinforced by immigration, the Chinese communities concen- 
trated in areas like Louisiana's Natchitoches Parish and Texas's 
Robertson County intermarried and, by 1980, had essentially van- 
ished from the Census returns. 1 

Lance Izumi himself happens to think that there are limits to the 
absorptive capacity of U.S. society. "It just takes time to turn for- 
eigners into little Americans," he says. "It just would be easier if we 
were dealing with smaller numbers — legal or illegal." 

Could the possibly-easier assimilation of East Asians mean that 
immigration may not be quite the problem for the United States 
that the raw numbers suggest? That the Pincers on page 63 may not 
grip quite so hard after all? 

Similarly, anyone looking at the debate preceding the Great Re- 
striction of the 1920s may be troubled by the sheer extremes of pes- 
simism expressed about the Eastern and Southern European influx. 
I have managed to talk myself out of this, largely because I think 
the cut-off actually helped assimilation. But the immigrants did, ba- 
sically, assimilate. 

I'm sure I'm right. There are some areas I'm watching — and rea- 
sons I'm not optimistic. 



Asian immigrants might assimilate easily 

As we have seen, some (but not all) Asian immigrant groups rapidly 
become economically successful. They even vote more like the 
American majority than do other ethnic minorities. 

BUT . . . there are ominous signs that some Asians feel alienated 
from America's majority society despite their success. 

Ronald Takaki opens his book A Different Mirror: A History of 
Multicultural America by relating the following shocking trauma: 

I had flown from San Francisco to Norfolk and was riding in a taxi 
to my hotel to attend a conference on multiculturalism. Hundreds of 
educators from across the country were meeting to discuss the need 
for greater cultural diversity in the curriculum. My driver and I chat- 
ted .. . the rearview mirror reflected a white man in his forties. "How 
long have you been in this country?" he asked. "All my life," I re- 
plied, wincing. "I was born in the United States." With a strong 
southern drawl, he remarked: "I was wondering because your En- 
glish is excellent!" Then, as I had done many times before, I ex- 
plained: "My grandfather came here from Japan in the 1880s. My 
family has been here, in America, for over a hundred years." He 
glanced at me in the mirror. Somehow I did not look "American" to 
him; my eyes and complexion looked foreign. 

Suddenly, we both became uncomfortably conscious of a racial di- 
vide separating us. An awkward silence turned my gaze from the mir- 
ror to the passing landscape, the shore where the English and the 
Powhatan Indians first encountered each other . . . 

Takaki says that he entered his hotel "carrying a vivid reminder 
of why I was attending this conference." 2 

But why was Takaki attending the conference? On any reason- 
able scale, his complaint is trivial to the point of paranoia. He, after 
all, is the famous author and tenured professor from the University 
of California at Berkeley. The white Southerner is, perfectly po- 
litely, driving the cab. 

To the extent that there is any content to Takaki's complaint, it is 


because he is Asian in a predominantly white society. And there is 
no cure for that except radically increasing the numbers of minori- 
ties and breaking down white America's sense of identity — 

Ohhh! So that's why he was attending a conference on multicul- 

Hispanics might assimilate easily 

There are some bright spots in the Hispanic picture. The notion 
that they are in fact assimilating faster than the conventional wis- 
dom has been extensively explored in the work of Linda Chavez 
and political scientist Peter Skerry. 3 For example, Chavez argues 
that although the gap between Hispanic and white education, earn- 
ings and poverty levels appears not to be closing, it's partly a statis- 
tical mirage resulting from the recent immigrant influx. She finds 
that U.S.-born Mexican Americans, after adjustment for factors 
like experience, earn close to the non-Hispanic average. 

Chavez believes most third-generation Hispanics speak only En- 
glish. And, in a little-reported development that appears to have as- 
tonished everyone, Protestant evangelicals are making Hispanic 
converts, as they are throughout Latin America. Peter Skerry re- 
ports that about 10 percent of Mexican Americans in Los Angeles 
and San Antonio are Protestants. This proportion has doubled 
since 1960. Conversion might be viewed as a proxy for Americani- 
zation . . . although these congregations are usually Spanish- 
speaking and unpluralistically anti-Catholic. 

BUT . . . "it's not something that can't be wrecked with the 
wrong policies," Chavez says of Hispanic assimilation. Ironically, it 
is Puerto Ricans who show the clearest signs of developing into a 
permanent underclass, despite (or because of) being entitled to gov- 
ernment benefits as American citizens. 

And the grip of the Hispanic professional politicians on their 
community is clearly tightening. Skerry shows that in the old- 
fashioned, community-based politics of San Antonio, Hispanics 
have behaved like traditional American ethnics on the road to inte- 
gration. In the modern, media-dominated politics of Los Angeles, 
Hispanics have been welded into a distinct, race-conscious minority 


So in California at least, the conditions encouraging earlier 
waves of Hispanic immigrants to assimilate may already have 
changed. One recent survey of second-generation Mexican Ameri- 
cans in California schools showed that while more than 85 percent 
claimed to speak English "well" or "very well/' about the same 
proportion spoke Spanish about as well. And more than half (55 
percent) said they preferred to speak Spanish. No other immigrant 
group showed this degree of retention of their parental language — 
and this preference for it. 4 

Allowing further massive Hispanic immigration may be one of 
the wrong policies that will wreck the assimilation of those already 
here. "Many Mexican Americans are involved in a process they call 
reverse assimilation — going back to their roots," The San Diego 
Union-Tribune reported in 1993. And it quoted a local Mexican 
American to illustrate the dynamic: 

I'm reverting to my original culture. I'm doing that along with 
many, many people because there are so many of us in the United 

My radio and television are always tuned to Spanish. I surround 
myself with Spanish-speaking people. I deal daily with bilingual peo- 
ple. [Other Americans] should face it — this is not going away. We're 
here to stay. 5 

A hundred years ago, self-appointed French Canadian spokes- 
men were making equally arrogant noises about their apparently 
imminent takeover of New England. But the Great Restriction, 
particularly work-permit regulatory changes in 1930, changed all 
that. Without the reinforcement of continuing immigration, the 
French Canadian enclaves assimilated. Thus today, for example, as 
much as 30 percent of the population of New Hampshire is of 
French Canadian origin. But French is spoken virtually nowhere. 6 


The ultimate symptom of assimilation is intermarriage. And frag- 
mentary evidence suggests that the latest immigrants may not be as 
unmeltable, even initially, as was the 1890-1920 wave. Over half of 


all Japanese Americans reportedly marry non- Japanese. The inter- 
marriage rate for some other Asians is also high. Mexican Ameri- 
cans are more difficult to track, but estimates of their intermarriage 
rate in California range between a third and a half. In.San Antonio, 
the rate is lower, but it is still comparable to that of European eth- 
nics of two generations ago. And far above that of American-born 
blacks. 7 

Intermarriage would make the claws of the Pincers on page 63 
somewhat fuzzier. The respective groups' genetic contribution to 
the American population, so to speak, would be the same. But the 
combination would be quite different. And the pressure from the 
Pincers would, perhaps, be dissipated. 

BUT . . . there is some evidence that, while more Hispanics are 
intermarrying, the proportion of all Hispanic marriages has fallen, 
swamped by the sheer growth of the Hispanic population. 8 And in- 
termarriage, like assimilation, can work two ways. Padraic Pearse 
had an English father, but he was still a Gaelic revivalist and a 
leader of the 1916 Easter Rising putsch against Ireland's union with 
Britain. For that matter, Raoul Lowery Contreras, the El Hispano 
columnist I quoted on page 106 attacking George Will, Tom 
Metzger and myself, is part Anglo*. Intermarriage cannot guaran- 
tee social harmony. That can be done only by an American major- 
ity that is confident and strong. 

Lions may lie down with lambs 

It's logically possible — that is, literally imaginable but practically 
inconceivable — that no known political laws apply to America. The 
unparalleled racial and ethnic diversity divisiveness introduced by 
the 1965 Immigration Act might simply harmonize smoothly. The 
lion might lie down with the lamb. Ben Wattenberg's Universal Na- 

* Note to the paperback edition: According to my sources. But in a letter to the 
New York Times, Conteras complained that he in fact merely has an "Irish stepfa- 
ther." This deserves memorializing as the only nontypographical error found in 
Alien Nation, not for want of trying by its many critics. It does not, of course, 
obviate the point that assimilation is more difficult than optimists assume. 


tion might actually materialize, like the Heavenly Host in a Christ- 
mas pageant. Pigs— as the old saying has it — might fly. 

BUT . . . even if a Universal Nation did materialize — what was 
wrong with America as it existed in 1965? As it exists--with all the 
changes inflicted to date by the 1965 Immigration Act — today? 

Why does it have to be changed? 


I've said that when you write on a topic like immigration, you enter 
into a conversation with America. After my critics and I had fought 
our round in the National Review symposium on my cover story, a 
subscriber wrote in this letter: 

Readers who find themselves bogged down in the pros and cons of 
[Third World] immigration can simplify the issue by asking the same 
question airplane pilots and sailors pose before setting off in threatening 
weather, "What if?" 

What if Julian Simon, Ben Wattenberg and Bob Bartley are wrong? 
Are we prepared for any or all of the possible consequences: public as- 
sistance programs watered down or driven out completely, our environ- 
ment overwhelmed, massive poverty, a shrinking percentage of our 
population in good jobs, a splintered society in which ethnic strife is as 
common as a rainy day, leading to that time in the next century when 
the U.S. goes totalitarian because the nation is no longer governable 
as a republic with four huge ethnic minorities (one of which is 
white)? . . . 

Now, what if Peter Brimelow and George Borjas are wrong? Can we 
handle a labor shortage and a reduction in the spread of fast food res- 
taurants? We can solve the labor problem by going to our southern bor- 
der and whispering, "we can use a few workers. " As for the restaurants, 
here's a vote for more home cooked meals. 

— Tev Laudeman, Louisville, Ky. 

Tom Paine summed up his conservative rival pamphleteer Ed- 
mund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France, with its fa- 


mous lament for the doomed Queen Marie Antoinette, in one bril- 
liant line: "He pities the plumage, but forgets the dying bird. " 

The American political elite has been in love, blindly, with the 
new immigrant plumage. It has not yet noticed that the bird — the 
American nation — might die. 

Why take the risk? 

Afterword to the Paperback 

He does not seem to know what an argument is. He never uses ar- 
guments himself. He never troubles himself to answer the argu- 
ments of an opponent. It has never occurred to him, that a man 
ought to be able to give some better account of the way in which he 
has arrived at his opinions than merely that it is his will and plea- 
sure to hold them. It has never occurred to him . . . that when an 
objection is raised, it ought to be met with something more convinc- 
ing than "scoundrel" or "blockhead " 


Essay on Southey's Colloquies 

A lien Nation ("one of the most widely discussed books of 
Zm 1995" — Jerry Adler, Newsweek) was published in April 
-L _1_ and was immediately and almost universally reviewed, 
somewhat to my surprise although not, I must say in tribute to their 
professional judgment, to that of my hardcover publishers, Ran- 
dom House. I also found myself defending the book on a multitude 
of national and local television and radio shows, so that by the fall I 
was being recognized on the streets of New York. This was an 
unusual experience for a humble financial journalist. And, under 
the circumstances, rather alarming. 

(Actually, everyone who approached me was very nice. I 
received only one death threat, on my voicemail at Forbes from an 
East European-accented woman. She was apparently incensed by 
my deriding, in a bitter exchange in The New York Times, both 


A. M. Rosenthal and American Civil Liberties Union Executive Di- 
rector Ira Glasser for their obsession with Alien Nation's single ref- 
erence to my son Alexander's blue eyes and blond hair. This 
scandalous revelation — it's on page 11 — was probably the most 
cited passage in the book. 

(And not once, as far as I can see, was it cited in its context: the 
paradoxical and destructive effect of the interaction between non- 
white immigration and affirmative action quotas upon those native- 
born Americans who are not members of the so-called "protected 
classes," as Alexander manifestly is not. I regard this hysterical re- 
flex as further proof of my opening thesis in Alien Nation: current 
immigration policy is Adolf Hitler's posthumous revenge on Amer- 

"We at AEI [American Enterprise Institute]," Judge Robert 
Bork told me with mock ceremony during Norman Podhoretz's re- 
tirement dinner in May, "are very grateful to you for drawing fire 
away from Charles Murray." Later in the summer I got a call from 
Murray himself, Bork's colleague at AEI and co-author of The Bell 
Curve, professionally curious to see how I was holding up. 

In fact, the first (and in the publishing business most important) 
reviews, in The New York Times — twice — The Washington Post and 
The Atlantic, were at least respectful, serious and sometimes, partic- 
ularly the Times 9 s Richard Bernstein, strikingly generous. But after 
that, as Wellington said at Waterloo, it was hard pounding — the 
only question being who could pound hardest. 

"Hateful, racist" "gentrified racism," "openly racialist," (there 
was a lot more of this, exactly as predicted on p. 9), "narrow- 
minded," "poppycock," "deliberately misleading," "an ugly jere- 
miad," "tirade," "diatribe," "a fervent and obsessive polemic," 
"breathtaking disingenuousness," "inflammatory," "incendiary," 
"conspicuous bad faith," "utterly wrong," "beyond the pale," 
"bigoted," "intellectualized white rage . . . in-your-face vileness." 
Etc., etc., etc. I was blamed for the Oklahoma City bombing (by 
Ramon Mestre in the Miami Herald) and compared to Hitler and 
Germany's neo-Nazi skinheads (by Jeff Turrentine in the Dallas 
Morning News.) My favorite hostile review: probably Lawrence 
Chua in the Village Voice — "His fear is justified. We will bury 


Then there were the attacks that might actually have concerned 
me: on my prose. Even some friends muttered about Alien Nation's 
"sledgehammer style," unfamiliar (lucky them) with the brutal 
techniques devised by American financial writers to explicate dis- 
maying quantities of detailed information. The London Economist, 
familiar but superior, said I had "the quality of an embarrassing 
dinner-party guest — boorish, noisy and loquacious but also, mad- 
deningly, often right." My slogan: "Don't be misled by this book's 
simple style: it is interlaced with material that can challenge the 
acutest mind." — Paul A. Samuelson, preface, Economics, seventh 
edition, 1967. 

It is always fascinating for an author to see one reviewer com- 
plaining that a book is a "struggle to get through" (John J. Miller in 
Reason), while another, just as hostile, says the book is "witty and 
conversational, full of clever asides" (Philip Kasinitz, New York 
Newsday) and a third, still by no means uncritical, announces that 
"it is a pleasure to read Peter Brimelow at length. He writes 
straightforwardly, with wit, honesty and good humor" (Boston 
University's Glenn C. Loury in National Review). When the latter 
views are the majority, as I can modestly report was the case with 
Alien Nation, it becomes hard to avoid the conclusion that the more 
infantile critics are just fumbling for any off-the-shelf insult. I'm 
surprised they didn't claim my hair, in the hardcover jacket photo- 
graph, was too long. My mother would have agreed. 

"I expected Brimelow to smell of sulfur," wrote Arizona Republic 
editorial writer Linda Valdez of her interview with me in Septem- 
ber, after my diabolical status had been well established. (Her con- 
clusion: I didn't smell of sulfur. But I was still diabolical.) 

Naturally, I found these reactions encouraging. After all, exactly 
the same incredulous rage has greeted the American conservative 
movement at each successive stage of its triumphant three-decade- 
long march through U.S. institutions, beginning with the nomina- 
tion of Barry Goldwater in 1964. 

I also had a simple test that I applied to every review: did it dis- 
cuss the 1965 Immigration Act? Or did it instead just burble on 
about the glories of immigration in principle, missing Alien Nation's 
key point — that the operations of 1965 Act in practice have resulted 
in an influx far larger, less skilled and far more dominated by a few 


Third World sources than ajiything envisaged at the time? In other 
words, even if you want a million immigrants a year — and the 
American people overwhelmingly do not — why this particular mil- 

I gave the shamefully large number of reviews that flunked this 
test a big fat "F" without any further ado. For the purposes of 
America's current immigration debate, they were just not in the 
game. Unsurprisingly, Mestre, Turrentine and Chua were all "F." 
Others prominent examples: Christopher Hitchens, Los Angeles 
Times; Linda Chavez, USA Toddy; Clarence Wood, Chicago Trib- 
une; Peter Skerry, Commentary. 

Even more encouraging: throughout the print media barrage I 
was spending hours a day on television and, through the miracle of 
telephone hook-ups, on talk radio all round the country. And there 
it was not at all unusual to get 100 percent supportive calls — from 
real Americans. The only exception were the shows on National 
Public Radio, which, whatever else you can say about it, has clearly 
found an audience. But even there, the calls were usually 50-50. 

Indeed, as a print journalist I am appalled to say that my experi- 
ence with Alien Nation has left me gloomily convinced that elec- 
tronic media, particularly talk radio, really does now carry the 
brunt of American public discourse. This is not just because a lot of 
talk show hosts — Gordon Liddy, Oliver North, David Brudnoy 
and many others, thanks to them all — were totally supportive in a 
way that no self-respecting print journalist seems ever able to be. 
Even my electronic media critics were generally at least polite and 
reasonable. When an angry caller complained to Larry Mantle, a 
liberal host on Los Angeles KPCC-FM, that I was being allowed to 
spread my noxious propaganda without anyone to oppose me, 
Mantle reprovingly said no one ever objected when he had liberals 
on alone. (I remember this particularly because I looked up to see 
through the soundproof glass my Random House escort, the beau- 
tiful Sheryl Benezra, locked in ferocious battle with the other young 
women in the studio on my behalf.) 

Beyond personalities, however, the discipline of live electronic 
media makes it intrinsically more honest than print. When Linda 
Valdez suggested in the Arizona Republic ("F," of course) that I had 
revealed my underlying racism by urging Eastern European immi- 


gration rather than Mexican, her readers could not know that in 
reality I was giving this as an example of the potential use of immi- 
gration as a foreign policy tool — and saying it has been precluded 
by statutory inflexibility and the immigrant binge of the last thirty 
years (pages 84-85). When Bryant Gumbel made the same sugges- 
tion on NBC's Today show, I was able to whack him smartly on the 

On live radio and television, unlike print, I could compel ques- 
tioners to address the central question on page 119: why do you want 
to transform America? Quite often they were honest or naive 
enough to answer — as did Larry Josephson on his "Bridges" NPR 
show — that America in 1965 was just too homogeneous ("white 
bread") for their taste. Then I could move in for the kill: "That's 
great! Now let's ask the American people if they agree." 

In addition, of course, events continued to move Alien Nation's 
way. This undercut my critics logically, albeit not emotionally. 
House Speaker Newt Gingrich's bipartisan task force on illegal im- 
migration reported, recommending among other things reform of 
the Fourteenth Amendment interpretation whereby all children 
born in the United States, even of illegal immigrants, are American 
citizens. (I had been reproached in various debates by Peter Skerry 
for suggesting such an outlandish idea; reviewing my book for 
Commentary, Skerry was prudently silent on this point, while con- 
tinuing to claim my other proposals were outlandish). And former 
Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Jordon's Commission on 
Immigration Reform reported, recommending a one-third cut in 
the legal influx, in effect rolling back the 1990 Immigration Act and 
conceding that the system was broke and needs fixing. This was pre- 
cisely my much-denounced point on page xx of Alien Nation. 

President Clinton actually endorsed the Jordon Commission's 
findings, to the utter shock and horror of the immigration enthusi- 
ast community in Washington. ("We know he's seen your book," 
the National Immigration Forum's Frank Sharry, the nicest of my 
regular debate opponents, told me darkly, as we waited to go on 
CNN's Crossfire together.) 

I suspect that, as a Southerner, President Clinton may be plotting 
a daring Chancellorsville-style march around the Republicans' 
right flank on the immigration issue, perhaps during the 1996 elec- 


tion campaign. His administration and key liberal Democrats, like 
California Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, have al- 
ready been significantly tougher on illegal immigration than Presi- 
dents Reagan and Bush. 

By contrast, Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey re- 
flexively denounced the Jordan Commission. "Fm hard-pressed," 
he said later in the summer, "to think of a single problem that 
would be solved by shutting off the supply of willing and eager new 

This was an astonishing comment, and indicative of the fatal in- 
tellectual inertia still prevailing among many leading immigration 
enthusiasts. No doubt Armey was too busy to read the free copy of 
Alien Nation sent him by Random House. But even a nanosecond's 
thought would have revealed to him that, if immigration drives the 
U.S. population up 50 percent by 2050 — the Census Bureau's cur- 
rent estimate — it must inevitably cost the taxpayers massive addi- 
tional monies for schools, prisons and other infrastructure, 
regardless of whether it also offers some particular benefit (which it 
does not). 

Events, large and small, continue to move Alien Nations way. As 
I was preparing to write this at the end of 1995, 1 randomly picked 
these two stories out of the same newspaper (The New York Times, 
December 10): 


[Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo supports an amendment to the 
Mexican constitution allowing Mexicans to retain their nationality 
when they take out U.S. citizenship.] "You're Mexicans — Mexicans 
who live north of the border," Mr. Zedillo told Mexican-American 
politicians in Dallas this year. He said he hoped the amendment 
would not only permit Mexican Americans to better defend their 
rights at a time of rising anti-immigrant fervor, but also help create 
an ethnic lobby with political influence similar to that of American 

See Alien Nation, pages 193-95. 



"As you get more and more immigrants from countries where this 
is a practice, particularly from Somalia, there are pockets of it [clito- 
ridectomy] popping up wherever you see concentrations of settle- 
ments," Representative Pat Schroeder, the Colorado Democrat, said 
in an interview. 

. . . Ms. Schroeder [has] proposed laws similar to ones in Britain 
and France making genital mutilation a crime. 

Of course, Schroeder's position is completely hypocritical. Either 
values are relative or they are not. What it shows once again is that 
immigration enthusiasts' enthusiasm for "diversity" is highly selec- 
tive. They fully intend to pick and choose among diversities. In ef- 
fect, immigration just gives them an excuse to remake America. See 
Alien Nation, pages 105-6, 231-32. 

Ironically, Pat Schroeder had been the 563rd critic to have the 
brilliant idea, when she got her free copy of Alien Nation from Ran- 
dom House chief Harry Evans, of pointing to our common British 
origins. "We welcome immigrants, even crabby ones," she wrote 
back grandly. "Somehow they all find their niche." 

Hmrnm. Did the shock of finding out what some crabby immi- 
grants are really like contribute to her subsequent decision to quit 

Nah, probably not. linmigration enthusiasts are a notably imper- 
vious lot. 

It must be said, however, that America's professional politicians 
are being relatively pervious about immigration. They know an 
electoral earthquake — California's Proposition 187 — when they see 
one. In both parties, they are prepared at least to contemplate im- 
migration reform. Even House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has 
privately made it clear he does not want to see the legal irnmigration 
issue raised at all, probably because he fears accusations of racism, 
now says flatly in his book To Renew America that illegal immigra- 
tion should and can be stopped. (He is silent, of course, about de- 
porting illegals already here.) 

By contrast, the Wall Street Journal editorial page has never for- 
mally rescinded its annual July Fourth call for a constitutional 


amendment guaranteeing "open borders," probably the high 
water-mark of loony libertarianism. (Still, this instant tradition did 
cease in 1995, abruptly and without explanation, after the publica- 
tion of Alien Nation. ) 

My conclusion: it is not so much elected officials who are the bar- 
rier to rational immigration reform in America: it is the "permanent 
government" of bureaucrats, mediacrats, educrats, assorted policy 
wonks and intellectuals — in alliance with ethnic and economic spe- 
cial interest groups. 

And these, as it happens, are also the people who review books. 
Reading through the notices of Alien Nation, the sensation I get is 
exactly that of putting a recalcitrant three-year old to bed: crying, 
screaming, struggling, kicking, proclamations of hatred. 

Then — and this is significant — sudden, serene sleep. And you go 
off for a quiet scotch and a heart attack. Or in my case to finish 
some mundane article on the stock market, further building the 
Forbes family fortune and thus financing, indirectly, Steve Forbes's 
race for President. 

(He's no good on immigration, alas. By contrast, Pat Buchanan, 
bless his heart, was photographed holding up my book when he an- 
nounced his support for an immigration moratorium. I think I 
might tug my forelock and respectfully hold out for whichever pres- 
idential candidate does the most to promote my Alien Nation. Of 
course, it could be Bill Clinton). 

There are basically two views about how you can influence public 
debate. The Thin End of the Wedge Theory, favored by gentle souls 
like James W. Michaels and John O'Sullivan, respectively my edi- 
tors at Forbes and National Review magazines, is that while empha- 
sizing how much agreement there is between you and everyone else, 
you politely but firmly insinuate modifications into the discussion, 
all of such an eminently sensible character that no-one can possibly 
(or, at least, reasonably) object. Over time, you turn people around. 
In contrast, there's the Thick End Theory. You pick up the 
wedge by its thin end and whack the opposition with the thick end, 
as hard as possible. Then you stand back and see what happens. 


I have to admit that I lean toward the second approach. This is 
probably a fault of personality. I lack the patience to maneuver op- 
ponents in detail, especially since it means I may never get to state 
my own very important opinion directly. Indeed, I think that re- 
pressing an opinion in this way can be harmful to everyone's health. 
Such tactfulness in the face of the hyperemotional minority is why 
most Americans now lack the language to express their common 
private conviction that, since America has been historically a white 
nation, it might very well matter that public policy is at present so 
rapidly shifting the country's racial balance. (Of course, it might 
not. But if not, why not discuss it? See page 107.) 

Anyway, as Alan Abelson, the great editor of Barron's, used to 
reassure me when I worked for him, sadism is a professional re- 
quirement for a journalist. So in Alien Nation I hit the immigration 
enthusiasts head on. 

Some reviewers appreciated this. Jack Miles, in his very thought- 
ful essay in The Atlantic Monthly, said I was occasionally "an in- 
spired controversialist, determined to storm the enemy's redoubt 
where it is strongest, not where it is weakest." 

But other reviewers simply could not stomach the resulting 
bloodshed. For example, Jacquie Miller in the Ottawa Citizen wor- 
ried — all too presciently, for what it is worth — that "phrases can be 
plucked out of Brimelow's book that, shoved only slightly out of 
context, provide ammunition [for the inevitable charge of racism]." 
She instanced my references to high black crime and Laotian wel- 
fare rates. Miller also felt that the "credibility" of my account of 
Robert Kennedy's ludicrous underestimate of Asian immigration 
resulting from the 1965 Act (p. 78) somehow suffered from what she 
described as "a typical slur": my adding that "tragically, Robert 
Kennedy himself was to be assassinated by an immigrant counted 
by the INS as Asian ..." 

My first reaction to this sort of thing, of course, is incredulity. I 
believe truth should be an absolute defense, as it is in libel law. Lao- 
tians do have disproportionately high welfare rates etc. And I said 
"tragically," didn't I? 

Still, I recognize a problem. There is no point in repelling readers, 
at least those who show Ms. Miller's symptoms of open-minded- 


The problem, however, is not easily resolved. The truth, we are 
told after all, shall set us free. And it is precisely because of the 
media's flinching from facts that many Americans are unaware of 
the immigration dimensions of major contemporary public policy 
dilemmas (see p. 7). It is because Americans are never reminded of 
the Jordanian origins of Kennedy's assassin, Sirhan Sirhan, that 
they don't think to put him at the head of a list of infamous immi- 
grants to counter the immigration enthusiasts' silly ploy of reeling 
off, in place of argument, the names of distinguished immigrants. In 
fact, many Americans can't think of a list of infamous immigrants 
at all — another example of the one-way nature of the immigration 

Former New York mayor Ed Koch pulled this trick on me in the 
course of a surprisingly disappointing and weak review in the New 
York Post: "Albert Einstein, Arturo Toscanini, Madelaine Alb- 
right, I. M. Pei, Patrick Ewing, John Shalikashvili, Henry Kiss- 
inger, Martina Navratilova, A. M. Rosenthal [etc etc] . . . Brimelow 
should squirm at their very mention." 

My unsquirming answer, in part: 

Sirhan; Giuseppe Esposito (founder of the Italian Mafia in the 
U.S.); Meyer Lansky, "Lucky" Luciano, Al Capone (all organized 
crime); V. K. Ivankov (arrest in June 1995 said to be the most im- 
portant yet in the struggle against the emerging "Russian Mafia"); 
Bruno Richard Hauptmann (Lindbergh kidnapper); Rosario Ames 
(wife and co-conspirator of convicted traitor Aldrich Ames); Gi- 
useppe Zangara (assassin of Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak); Civil 
War Colonels John B. Turchin, USA, and Henry Wirz, CSA, (re- 
spectively dismissed from U.S. Army for atrocities against South- 
ern civilians and hung for atrocities against Union prisoners of war 
as camp commandant at Andersonville) . . . 

And Charles Ponzi (inventor of the type of financial fraud named 
after him, whereby early investors are paid off with later investors' 
monies, luring more in— just like the immigration enthusiasts' fan- 
tasy of how immigrants will bail out the Social Security system. Ben 
Wattenberg was still repeating this in his syndicated column in late 
1995, despite Alien Nations conclusive refutation, p. 153-4). 

Still, I have hope for Koch, who is sensible about illegal immigra- 
tion and other things. It seems he was simply unable to focus on my 


book's content, a common failing, because of the memory of his 
own immigrant parents. One of my happiest moments in taping the 
three-part immigration debate television special for William F. 
Buckley's Firing Line is establishing through cross-examination 
that Koch did not realize his parents could not immigrate under 
current law anyway (because they came from European countries 
that have been shouldered aside by the family-reunification inflow 
triggered by the 1965 Act — see p. 18.) I expect that we can resolve 
our differences over the lunch to which he has kindly invited me. 

I am less hopeful about the ACLU's Ira Glasser. In the second 
part of the Firing Line debate, he so far forgot himself as to accuse 
me of "lying" and bet me a year of his salary ($127,950 according to 
the 1993 American Institute of Philanthropy yearbook) that I had 
not discussed in Alien Nation the fragmentary evidence that the 
proportion of immigrants in state prisons does not repeat their 
over-representation at the federal level. Of course, I had (p. 184). 

Glasser has now conceded this, buried in a long abusive ink- 
cloud of a private letter to me. Unaccountably, however, he ne- 
glected to include his check. As a gentleman, he will no doubt have 
rectified this oversight by the time this paperback edition is in read- 
ers' hands. But you can fax him at the ACLU and ask: (212) 354- 

It's a mildly interesting question how Glasser could be such a 
fool as to get himself in this mess. My theory is that it is partly be- 
cause of the pervasive influence of lawyers on American public de- 
bate. Trial lawyers have a reductionist and pragmatic view of 
arguments. Their object is to convince the jury, not arrive at the 
truth. Glasser automatically assumed I would suppress apparently 
unfavorable evidence because, well, he would in my place. 

But I wouldn't. No, dammit. I wouldn't. Twenty-five years ago, 
when I had been in the U.S. only months, this passage jumped out 
of a book I was illicitly reading at the back of a finance class at 
Stanford's business school: 

I realize about myself that I am, for all my passions, implacably, I 
think almost unfailingly fair: objective, just. This not vanity, it is rig- 
orous introspection . . . 


The book: Cruising Speed (1970). The author: William F. Buck- 
ley Jr. 

Perhaps it's a conservative thing. The Glassers of the world 
wouldn't understand. 

Or (what I really think) perhaps it has something to do with the 
great civilization of the West. In which case it may be — not will be, 
may be — threatened by immigrants from a different cultural tradi- 

Virtue is more than its own reward, however. In spite of the fero- 
cious assault on Alien Nation, only one minor nontypographical 
mistake was discovered. Raul Lowery Contreras, a radio host and 
professional ethnic in San Diego, complained in a letter to the New 
York Times that my sources had been wrong to suppose he was 
part-Anglo: he merely had an "Irish step-father." (p. 274). Natu- 
rally he did not mention that he had read this in the free, inscribed 
book he had bummed off me when we ran into each Other in 
KOGO's studios, where I had just appeared on Peter Weissbach's 

And, of course, the change does not affect my fundamental point: 
assimilating visible minorities is more difficult, even given apparent 
social integration, than optimists assume. 

"A highly cogent presentation of whatis going to be the benchmark 
case against immigration," wrote Richard Bernstein in the New 
York Times. "Those who think the system needs no fixing cannot 
responsibly hold to that position any longer unless they take Mr. 
Brimelow's urgent appeal into account." 

"Don't be misled by the verbal pyrotechnics ... no reformer can 
avoid grappling with the formidable work of Peter Brimelow," 
wrote David Frum, author of Dead Right and now a Contributing 
Editor with the Weekly Standard (hope this doesn't get him fired!), 
in his syndicated column in Canada. 

I agree, as a matter of fact. John Dizard, in a front page story in 
the New York Observer reporting a civil war among conservatives 
provoked by my book, quoted me as saying ("ominously") that 
"my opponents are hopelessly overextended intellectually and em- 


piricaUy, and are facing annihilation up and down the line." Nine 
months later, having been confronted with no new contrary argu- 
ment or fact, I still think that. 

And so, I suspect, do they. Unlike Charles Murray when he came 
to review the reviews of The Bell Curve, I have essentially no intri- 
cate technical counter-arguments to refute, because no one pro- 
vided any. My critics tended to behave like Macaulay's description 
of Southey in debate, which forms the epigraph to this chapter: ei- 
ther they simply reasserted their opinion, often using points that I 
had just painstakingly refuted in Alien Nation, a technique I found 
bewildering; or they resorted to abuse. Or, quite often, both. 

(As Alien Nation was going to press in 1994, the Urban Institute's 
Michael Fix and Jeffrey Passel published Immigration and Immi- 
grants: Setting the Record Straight, which claimed that there was 
significantly less deterioration in immigrant skill levels and welfare 
dependency than shown in George Borjas' research. It material- 
ized — distressing to me, since Alien Nation takes other Urban Insti- 
tute work at face value — that Fix and Passel had abolished the 
immigration problem by the ruthless expedient of abolishing prob- 
lem immigrants. For example, all Mexicans had been excluded 
from the education calculations on the grounds that many are il- 
legal. But Mexico is also the largest source of legal immigrants. So 
excluding Mexicans gives a falsely positive picture of the legal flow. 
This statistical equivalent of anecdotal evidence, scrabbling 
through the immigrant population to find some subgroup that out- 
performs the native-born— left-handed blue-eyed women? — has 
become a common immigrant enthusiast trick. However, although 
hyped by the usual guilty, and occasionally brandished feebly by 
my regular professional immigration enthusiast debating partners, 
the Urban Institute's numbers played surprisingly little role in 
print reviews. Critics just tended economically to sweep aside 
my — George Borjas' — work without offering any explanation at 
all: "rehashing tendentious research on immigrant welfare depen- 
dency" — Tom Morganthau, Newsweek.) 

, "What we need is a real debate about immigration . . ." wrote 
Thomas Sowell, who, while interested but not uncritical in two syn- 
dicated columns, was visibly twitching at the unmistakable political 
correctness of my immigration enthusiast opponents: "Peter Brime- 


low's Alien Nation makes him top choice for the contrary position." 

But any debate about immigration is exactly what much of the 
opposition absolutely does not want to see. As Milton Friedman 
once remarked to me, many individuals in American intellectual life 
are not truly intellectuals but frustrated activists. And the activist's 
characteristic concern with tactics rather than truth became pain- 
fully apparent as the controversy about Alien Nation got rolling. 

A classic example: Ben Wattenberg. When I arrived at Diane 
Rehm's celebrated WAMU talk show in Washington at the begin- 
ning of my book tour, I found Wattenberg was to appear with me. 
We had a perfectly affable disputation, not surprisingly since (we 
agreed) we had substantial policy proposals in common — such as 
the utility of an English-language preference, which would have a 
dramatic impact, particularly on the Hispanic influx. Wattenberg 
undertook to send me his forthcoming book for a possible Forbes 

A month later, with Alien Nation getting famous and legislation 
reducing immigration being introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith and 
Senator Alan Simpson, Wattenberg was transformed. He bristled 
with determination to anathematize me for mentioning the fact that 
government immigration policy is shifting the U.S. racial balance. 
He was comically baffled because (at a Congressional briefing with 
him sponsored by Jane DeLung's Population Resource Center) I 
instead talked about how immigration policy is also in effect sec- 
ond-guessing the American people's implicit decision, evidenced by 
their generally smaller families, about the ideal U.S. population size 

Even more comic was Wattenberg's behavior when we taped his 
PBS TV show Think Tank. (Me versus two critics and Wattenberg 
as a self-declared "immoderator." Balance!) He made the very com- 
mon error of claiming that Alien Nation advocates a shift to white 
immigration, instead the "time-out" from all immigration I actu- 
ally recommend on p. 262. 1 challenged him. Confidently, he started 
to read something from his lectern. It began "Brimelow says . . ." 

"That's a review!" I interjected. It was a knockdown blow. So 
much so that before the show appeared, Wattenberg (or his han- 
dlers) took the unusual but masterful step of going into the tape and 
editing out the exchange. 


His book never arrived at Forbes, presumably because it tries to 
shrug off Alien Nation as "half hokum, half racism." Without ex- 
planation, of course. Its title: Values Matter Most. 

You said it, Ben. 

A more important, and sadder, example of an immigration en- 
thusiast attempting to suppress debate: Robert L. Bartley, Editor of 
the Wall Street Journal Bob and I crawled out of the same conserv- 
ative/ libertarian hole. I had known him and written for his editorial 
page since the 1970s. But he still published the nastiest, and most 
incompetent, review to appear in any major paper, charmingly 
heading it "Natterings of a Neo-Nativist." 

This resounding F-minus performance by Tufts historian Reed 
Ueda not only ignored the role of the 1965 Act but every other 
major argument in Alien Nation — including, amazing for a business 
paper, my demonstration that immigration is not an economic ne- 
cessity — in its eagerness to accuse me of resembling "late 19th cen- 
tury forecasters] of Anglo-Saxon 'race suicide,' " i.e. (for most 
American intellectuals) of proto-Nazism. 

(Evading Alien Nation's thesis about the workings of the 1965 
Immigration Act is unusually important for libertarian immigra- 
tion enthusiasts — for example, it was also repressed by Alan Bock 
in the Orange County Register, Stephan Chapman in the Chicago 
Tribune and, needless to say, by John J. Miller in Reason magazine. 
Otherwise they would be forced to admit that this specific immi- 
grant inflow is the result, not of a free market, but — aargh! — gov- 
ernment intervention. Essentially, they are in the same position as 
the boosters of dams and supersonic airliners who conned an earlier 
generation of libertarians into thinking that these projects were the 
product of market processes rather than federal subsidies and log- 
rolling. But at least the dam-boosters were after a dishonest buck. 
What is the libertarian immigration enthusiasts' agenda?) 

Random House was eager that I support Alien Nation with op-ed 
articles in major newspapers. And in the end, I appeared in the 
Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Christian Sci- 
ence Monitor, Houston Chronicle and related syndicates across the 
country. Even the New York Times twice commissioned articles, 
but then reneged. However, it was very fair in other ways. And I can 
see that running an article by me would have caused the much- 


loved A. M. Rosenthal to burst a blood vessel. He attacked me 
twice in his columns, childishly trying to avoid mentioning me by 
name, finally concluding (June 20): 

Just a few words, no more needed, about that British-born immi- 
grant — Peter Brimelow is his name, I remember now. His book is 
much too farbissen, my mother's Yiddish word for embittered, to be 
of value That British immigrant really must go home. Mercy ex- 
tends just so far. 

Well, if Rosenthal doesn't like being told what to do by immigrants, 
he had better support restriction very soon. My mother's word for 
all this: daft. 

The Wall Street Journal editorial page, however, was a blank 
wall of unreturned phone calls. Unreturned phone calls are a pet 
hatred of mine, so when speaking to audiences on the road I began 
to amuse myself, for this and other reasons, by describing the con- 
servative civil war: "Even the Editor of the Wall Street Journal has 
stopped talking to me. At least, I think he has. It's hard to tell with 
Bob Bartley!" (An in-joke. Bob is a notoriously taciturn Mid-West- 

Eventually, I must have said this on Brian Lamb's extraor- 
dinarily influential C-SPAN show Booknotes. Bob was inspired to 
return a call. We talked, and he promised to check up on when he 
had last allowed an article dissenting from the immigration enthusi- 
ast party line. After some weeks, I faxed him pointing out it had 
been two years. I added "LOOK ON BRIGHT SIDE^-LAST DIS- 
SENTER [poor Dan James, author of Illegal Immigration] DIED." 

Of course, I heard nothing further.* Bob's sense of humor is 
somewhere in the same latitude as his loquacity. 

But during our conversation, he did say something profoundly 

* Finally, on Nov. 27, 1 was the only non-immigration enthusiast (if you don*t 
count Barbara Jordan) in an editorial page symposium often 200-word mini-arti- 
' cles timed to demoralize immigration reformers in Washington. The intellectual 
level of the enthusiasts was raised by the presence of Dr. — in psychology — Ruth 
Westheimer, the sexologist. She advanced the novel arguments that immigration 
had saved her from the Holocaust and solved her servant problem. 


significant. Defending his inflexible private opinion that nothing 
can ever be done about illegal immigration, he remarked: "The des- 
tiny of Europe has already been decided in North Africa [because of 
the population explosion there]." 

"That's a poor look-out for the nation-state," I said, surprised. 

"Oh yes," he said calmly. "I think the nation-state is finished. I 
think [Kenichi] Ohmae [author of The Borderless World, sl prophet 
of economic regionalism popular among businessmen] is right." 

I was thunderstruck. I knew the devoted fans of the Wall Street 
Journal editorial, overwhelmingly conservative patriots, had no in- 
kling of this. It would make a great Wall Street Journal front page 




Through much of this most crucial American debate, Wall Street 
Journal readers have been able to follow the critics' arguments only 
by deducing them from between the lines of continuous denuncia- 
tions, rather like Pravda readers under Stalin. Curiously, Bob Bart- 
ley presided over a similar shut-out in the early 1980s, when I used 
to beg him to editorialize against affirmative action, then rapidly 
metastasizing. Finally, he said: "I'll write about affirmative action 
when you get me a black writer." 

Later, he did find black writers — one of them, Joe Perkins, now 
with the San Diego Union-Tribune, bravely broke with immigration 
enthusiast orthodoxy to defend Alien Nation in his column. But by 
then of course it was too late. Quotas were entrenched. 

Fortunately, Bob does not strike me as being as sensitive as the 
shepherd hero of Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd: 
"It had always been a shadow in his life that his flock ended as mut- 
ton — that a day came and found every shepherd an arrant traitor to 
his defenseless sheep." The fact remains, however, that arguably the 
most brilliant career in American journalism is failing its final test. 


* ♦ * 

Other highlights from the reviews: 

• Harvard University's Stephan Thernstrom in the Washing- 
ton Post: "Has recent immigration to the U.S. really been huge? 
Not really ... in proportion to total population, the more relevant 
comparison, it continues to be fairly low by historic standards . . ." 

I devoted all of chapter 2 to crushing this vulgar error, basically 
by demonstrating that immigration is now high relative to popula- 
tion growth. But it still cropped in many reviews — another auto- 
matic "F." When I politely pointed out Thernstrom's mistake in a 
letter to the Washington Post, he replied huffily, extemporizing that 
when population growth is static, even one immigrant would be 
100% of population growth. True, and so would 100 million immi- 
grants — which is why I invented the Wedge Chart on page 47, 
showing the actual situation (50% higher population by 2050 virtu- 
ally all due to immigration). My theory: reviewers notoriously don't 
read books. But Thernstrom didn't even look at the pictures. 

• Nicholas Lemann in the New York Times Book Review: 
"Judging from a couple of asides, Mr. Brimelow doesn't consider 
Jews to meet his definition of 'white' either; for example, he refers to 
the Clinton Administration as 'a black-Hispanic- Jewish-minority 
white (Southerners used to call them "scalawags") coalition.' Else- 
where he points out that Jews played a major role in the passage of 
the hated 1965 immigration law . . ." 

Of course, I also point out that Jews are prominent in the current 
reform movement too, but Lemann didn't mention that. After some 
puzzling, I have decided that his first sentence means I should have 
said "minority non-Jewish white." Bunk. Technically, I should have 
said "non-Hispanic white" too, because some Hispanics are white. 
But I do not throughout Alien Nation in the interests of minimal 

Strangely, Lemann's review was not particularly hostile, al- 
though of course passing over my chapters on economics in favor of 
race (like virtually everyone else — this part of the immigration de- 
bate has not even begun.) My theory: when Lemann referred to 
Alien Nation's "amazing absence of euphemism and disingenuous- 


ness," he meant just that: he was literally amazed. Wandering 
around in his state of amazement, he idly insinuated anti-semitism 
in much the same spirit as a mechanical ignoramus in an automo- 
bile salesroom kicking a new car's tire. 

• Jacob Weisberg in New York magazine: ". . . Brimelow re- 
sorts to statistical abuses that would make a high-school debate 
blush. His first distortion is a chart that shows immigration in abso- 
lute numbers. By including those who applied for legal status under 
the temporary amnesty of a few years ago, he succeeds in producing 
a recent 'spike.' " 

In fact, of course, the IRCA amnesties are included in the INS 
official figures. (Chart 1, p. 30-31). And I discuss this problem and 
correct for them (Chart 2, p. 32) Even if Weisberg had not turned 
the page, he was present at my address to the Manhattan Institute 
when I pointed this out. To its discredit, New York refused to pub- 
lish a correction letter from my researcher Joseph E. Fallon. 

Interestingly, Weisberg was involved in a similar incident involv- 
ing The Bell Curve. He wrote that at a conference sponsored by 
AEI, the book's linking of intelligence and race was only raised (by 
him, although he didn't say so) when Glenn Loury, who is black, 
left the room. In fact, Juan Williams, who is also black, was present 

My theory: Weisberg is a type, common in New York, whose ver- 
bal slickness exceeds his intellectual powers. Faced with an argu- 
ment that disturbs him emotionally, he compulsively lies about it, 
like a lunatic exposing himself to a nubile woman. 

• Michael Lind in the New Yorker: "uses the rhetoric of an 
after-dinner speaker at a Klavern banquet." etc . . '. well, the mete- 
oric Lind is a special case. Once a hanger-on of the conservative 
movement and National Review, he seems to have made the entirely 
rational decision that there's more money on the left. (My wife 
keeps telling me the same thing.) You can more or less date this 
process: less than two years earlier, Lind had written in the New 
Republic (August 23, 1993) that my original National Review cover 
story, which constitutes about a quarter of Alien Nation, was "an 
eloquent restatement ... of traditional American conservative ar- 


guments." I even received an effusive four-page, single-spaced pri- 
vate letter from him on the subject. 

Alien Nation posed a pecularly acute problem for Lind. His own 
soon-to-be-published book, The Next American Nation, actually 
called for immigration restriction just like Alien Nation, although in 
a way that tried to appeal to political liberals. Much of the debunk- 
ing of immigration enthusiast myths was eerily similar, including 
for example a passage on Tom Paine that was almost identical (see 
page 17). Lind had adopted many arguments first developed in Na- 
tional Review such as the economic impact on blue-collar workers. 
(He had even acknowledged this in a letter to National Review, pub- 
lished March 7, 1994.) He could purge National Review from his 
footnotes, and he did. But he could not afford to have his new 
friends making close comparisons with Alien Nation. So he tried to 
drive it out of public debate in the usual way. 

It won't work, of course. Although there are good traditional lib- 
eral reasons to oppose immigration, modern liberalism is differently 
motivated. And sooner or later, another even younger and equally 
vicious Lind is going to come along and make his reputation with 
an article on "Michael Lind's Tainted Sources" — the title of a noto- 
rious attack on The Bell Curve. Additionally, Lind himself is too 
restless and quarrelsome. My theory: this strange, driven figure will 
next become a Mormon. No doubt of a heretical kind. 

• John J. Miller in Reason: "Follow that reasoning? It goes 
something like this: Colin Ferguson is an immigrant. Colin Fergu- 
son is bad. Therefore, all immigrants are bad." 

A number of reviewers (Christopher Hitchens, Los Angeles 
Times; Christopher Farrell, Business Week) were uncomfortable 
about my mention of Colin Ferguson, the Jamaican immigrant and 
Long Island Rail Road mass-murderer, and of the "immigration 
dimension" of some current problems. But the most extreme treat- 
ment, typically, was by Washington policy wonk John J. Miller. 

Completely missing from these discussions was the context (page 
6-7). I had noted that prevailing taboos make it virtually impossible 
to report anything bad about immigrants, resulting in a "one-way 
immigration debate." I then deliberately gave the Ferguson case as 


an example of news that could have been treated as an immigration 
story, but that in fact became a more palatable gun control story 
because of the taboo. I am promptly denounced for violating the 
taboo. This is exactly like an AIDS researcher contracting the virus 
from handling a test tube. 

(Alien Nation was attacked — for example, George Ramos, Los 
Angeles Times — for not containing enough touchy-feely interviews 
with immigrants. Partly this is because my view of what constitutes 
evidence is a financial journalist's: numbers, concepts* analysis. But 
my Ferguson experience makes another problem clear: stories 
about immigrant criminals, welfare cases and disease carriers would 
simply not be tolerated by today's book reviewers, regardless of the 

My theory: never underestimate the intense emotion with which 
people read books. You cannot rely on phrases, let alone para- 
graphs, being read in context. I don't believe that this applies to 
Miller, though. Careful study has led me to view him as the most 
unscrupulous of contemporary immigration enthusiasts. 

So, having given the immigration enthusiasts a good pound with 
the thick end of the wedge, what do I see when I stand back? 

"It seems clear that the [Wall Street] Journal is losing, if it has 
not already lost, this debate . . ." wrote Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, 
who regards himself as pro-immigration, in First Things magazine. 
"Brimelow's raising of the race question, however . . . may also be 
the reason why, if Brimelow's argument wins in the political arena 
(which seems more than possible), few people will give him and his 
book much credit in helping transform U.S. immigration policy." 

Could be. Who knows? This is the equivalent of having a heart 
attack after putting your three-year-old to bed. 

But there's also the blissful quiet when the three-year-old goes 
abrubtly to sleep. The professional immigration restrictionists were 
quick to spot it. Contrary to allegations, they have usually in the 
past confined themselves to environmental and economic argu- 
ments. But writing in the Spring 1995 issue of Social Contract, the 


restrictionist movement's house magazine, FAIR'S Ira Mehlman, 
offered this penetrating insight under the evocative heading: 
"Brimelow Drops 'The Big One.' " 

Brimelow actually makes a very broad case against current immigra- 
tion policies, but not surprisingly, almost everybody has focused on 
those chapters that deal with race, ethnicity and culture — By bring- 
ing up subjects that had heretofore been considered taboo, Brimelow 
has scared a lot of people who have been observing the debate from 
the sidelines into conceding that our current immigration policies 
don't make economic sense. . . . (There is a] sudden willingness of 
many in the media (who are a good barometer of the intellectual 
elite) to choose a side on the question of whether immigration is 
beneficial or harmful to the economy. 

In effect, I had won the economic debate by raising the question 
of racial balance and culture. The pattern that Mehlman spotted 
was so immensely powerful as to become funny. Again and again, 
reviews denounced me and Alien Nation, and then go on to say in 
effect that "of course" there are things wrong with immigration 
. . . just not the things, or all the things, I had in mind. Examples: 
Michael Lind, New Yorker; Christopher Farrell, Business Week; 
Tom Morganthau, Newsweek; Jeff Turrentine, Dallas Morning 
News; Margo Harakas, St Petersburg Times; Jacob Weisberg, New 
York magazine .. . 

"Glad to hear it, Mr. Weisberg," wrote Richard Brookhiser sar- 
castically in the New York Observer. "Where can we find those ear- 
lier analyses of illegal immigration, and of the flaws of the 1965 
Immigration Act? The ones you wrote pre-Brimelow?" 

There's no guarantee that this will have a permanent effect, of 
course. Bad faith, intellectual laziness and unacknowledged agen- 
das are characteristic of immigration enthusiasts. But Ira Mehlman 
argued that the change was irreversible: 

The only question is in what context [reforms] take place. They can 
occur because the intellectual elite are finally persuaded that the cur- 
rent policies do not make economic or environmental sense, or be- 


cause the general public rises up in revolt over policies that perceive 
are irreparably altering the racial, ethnic and cultural balance of their 

The choice should be rather easy. 

In Fort Lauderdale, I went into WFTL-AM's studio to appear on 
Al RantePs wild and woolly talk show. RantePs sometime sidekick 
Rick Seiderman turned out to be particularly eager to challenge any 
thought of criticizing immigration. 

"Look at you," he said at one point across the microphone. 
"You look like Adolf Hitler's wet dream." 

I believe that people like Seiderman actually have no idea what 
effect this sort of attack, so casually and constantly made, has upon 
those who must endure it. It lights a small point of incandescent 
rage deep inside you, like the steadily encircling campfires of a be- 
sieging army at night. 

Of course, you are not allowed to respond in anger. So I just said 
mildly: "My father spent six and a half years fighting Hitler." 
(World War II began for Britain in 1939.) 

"Did he win?" demanded Seiderman, aggressively unimpressed. 

It was one of those moments in debate when a reply comes unbid- 
den, both for my poor father, dead five years, and indeed for my 
mortally wounded land of origin. 

"No," I said with a sudden bitterness. "He lost." 

Seiderman pulled a face and moved on. 

But of course we have all lost to Adolf Hitler, native-born and 
immigrant, white and non-white alike because the resulting emo- 
tional spasm of a policy is inflicting upon America damage that 
will still be felt in a hundred years. If indeed it does not prove ter- 

Some time before Alien Nation was published, a famous sociol- 
ogist was talking to a private dinner group in New York about 
the issue of race and IQ that The Bell Curve would soon make fa- 
mous. He gave his position but added that he would not take it in 


public — "there's a limit to what you can say in a multiracial soci- 

I refuse to accept this. But judging by the reception of Alien Na- 
tion, it is far from clear that he is wrong. In which case, the question 
must be asked: can such a society can be truly free? 

—Christmas, 1995 


As an author, I hate writing acknowledgments. Partly be- 
cause you don't get paid for them — but mostly because it 
forces me to face the magnitude of my debts. And I always 
leave someone out, further adding to my post-publication depres- 

An amazingly large number of individuals and institutions 
helped me to prepare this book. Many of their names are found in 
the text and notes, albeit in ways that typically give no indication of 
the extent of their helpfulness, although it was sometimes extraordi- 
nary. I am grateful to everyone who appears there, even when hos- 
tile. A special hello to Professor Julian Simon, a guaranteed 
intellectual stimulant albeit in directions of which he would not al- 
ways approve, and to his ever-affable ally, Stephen Moore of Ed 
Crane's Cato (O sancta simplicitas!) Institute in Washington, D.C. 


In particular, I want to thank my employers, Malcolm S. Forbes, 
Jr., and James W. Michaels, respectively proprietor and editor of 
Forbes magazine, for their heroic toleration of this project, the 
more so because it could be construed to contradict the magazine's 
trenchantly expressed point of view. My exposure to- Forbes 9 % 
sledgehammer literary style has been most instructive. I am also 
grateful to other friends at Forbes, especially my frequent co-writer, 
Leslie Spencer (Mrs. James Huffman). 

Similarly, I want to thank William F. Buckley and John O'Sul- 
livan, respectively proprietor and editor of National Review maga- 
zine, for nurturing my 1992 cover story on immigration and its 
subsequent mutation into the present work. And I am also grateful 
to other friends at National Review, especially research director 
Dorothy McCartney and her efficient staff, librarians John J. 
Virtes, Russell Jenkins and Frederick W. Campano; managing edi- 
tor Linda Bridges; senior editor Richard Brookhiser; economics an- 
alyst Edwin S. Rubenstein. 

Without the constant help and counsel of my friend and indefati- 
gable researcher, Joseph E. Fallon, this book could never have been 
written. I want here to thank him most sincerely and also to express 
the hope that the completed work approaches what he might wish. 
(Thanks also to all those whom Joe has been indefatigable with!) 

In like vein, I am deeply grateful to the remarkable Dr. John H. 
Tanton of Petoskey, Michigan, a practicing ophthalmic surgeon 
who is also a founder of the Federation for Immigration Reform, of 
U.S. English and more recently of English Language Advocates, 
and editor and publisher of The Social Contract- — truly a citizen 
who has taken up arms for his country. And to his staff at U.S. 
Foundation, Dorothy Koury, Niki Calloway, and Peggy Raddatz. 

Immigration is a dangerously intricate subject, one reason why 
debate on the topic has been so crabbed. Several friends read some 
or all of the manuscript in order to interdict any obvious factual 
and conceptual errors. A partial list: Professor George J. Borjas of 
the University of California, San Diego; George High and Rose- 
mary Jenks of the Center for Immigration Studies; Stephen J. 
Markman, formerly assistant attorney general of the United States 
for Legal Policy; Dr. Michael Walker, director of the Fraser Insti- 
tute, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. This does not at all 


mean they agree with my conclusions — sometimes emphatically 
not. It does mean, however, that any attempt to refute me on purely 
technical grounds is likely to prove more difficult than optimists 
may think. This is a warning. 

At the risk of boring our wives, I must say that only twins under- 
stand what it is to have a twin — my brother and fellow immigrant, 
John Brimelow. 

Thanks also to: Gerda Bikales; David F. Durham, Monique 
Miller and other friends at Carrying Capacity Network; Richard 
Estrada; Harry Evans, Jonathan Karp at Random House; Tim W. 
Ferguson; Scip Garling, James Dorcy and other friends at the Fed- 
eration for American Immigration Reform; Robert Goldborough 
of Americans for Immigration Control; Henry Graff; John Grim- 
wade; Ernest van den Haag; Garrett Hardin; Harvey H. Hukari; Ed 
Jagels; Jesse Laguna; Edward Levy; Donald Mann of Negative 
Population Growth; Philippe Mao; Jack Martin of the Center for 
Immigration Studies; Merrill Matthews, Jeanette Nordstrom at the 
National Center for Policy Analysis; Father Richard J. Neuhaus; 
Mark Nbwack at Population-Environment Balance; James Piere- 
son; James Plascyk; Paul Craig Roberts; Llewellyn Rockwell, Jef- 
frey Tucker at the von Mises Institute; Ben Seeley, now of Border 
Solution Task Force; Daniel Stoffman; Andrew Stuttaford; Palmer 
Stacey, John Vinson of the American Immigration Control Foun- 
dation; John B. Trevor; John W. Wall; Andrew Wylie, Sarah Chal- 
fant at Wylie, Aitken & Stone . . . and to some very long-suffering 
officials with American and foreign governments. 

Finally, my son, Alexander, to whom this book is dedicated, for 
his motivational cries of "Go Work!" whenever I looked like bath- 
ing or otherwise irritating him; and my beloved wife, Maggy — my 
inspiration and my reward. 


Immigration to the United States by Region: 1820-1967 


Latin America 





and Caribbean 

Asiaf 1 ) 

























































































































Percent of Total 

1 80.2% 

8.6% | 





(The remaining 1 percent is divided among two categories — "not speci- 
fied" and "Oceania." Immigrants in both categories were virtually all of 
European origin from Europe, Australia or New Zealand. 

Thus during these 147 years, Europeans constituted almost 90 percent 
of all immigrants.) 

1 Asia includes the Pacific islands, but excludes Australia and New Zealand. 

Source: "Immigrants Admitted by Country or Region of Birth" for fiscal years 
1950-93, and Statistical Yearbook of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 
1992, Immigration and Naturalization Service, U.S. Department of Justice. 


Immigration to the United States by Region: 1968-1993 


Latin America 





and Caribbean 


































































Percent of Total 

1 14.3% 

2.6% | 





(The remaining 0.4 percent principally refers to immigration from Aus- 
tralia, New Zealand and the islands of the Pacific Ocean. Approximately 
50 percent came from Australia and New Zealand.) 

While 17 percent of all immigrants between 1967 and 1993 came from 
Europe and Canada, this does not mean they were European immigrants. 
Unlike the period 1820 to 1968, Africans, Asians and Latin Americans are 
now able to immigrate to Europe and Canada and then reimmigrate to the 
United States under the quota for European countries and Canada. 

1 Asia includes the Pacific islands, but excludes Australia and New Zealand. 

Source: "Immigrants Admitted by Country or Region of Birth" for fiscal years 
1950-93, and the Statistical Yearbook of the Immigration and Naturalization Ser- 
vice, 1992, Immigration and Naturalization Service, U.S. Department of Justice. 


Top 15 Countries of Immigration to United States: 1989-1993 

Total Immigration 6,332,843 
Non-IRCA 3,649,489 
IRCA 2,683,354 









of Total 


































































































































4,702,670 74.3% 




89.8 % 

During the past five years, the INS has reported as "immigrants" large 
numbers of illegal aliens as they obtained amnesty under the provisions of 
the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). These provisions 
applied only to illegal immigrants who could show they had been in the 
United States before January 1, 1982. This special type of "immigration'' 
is now thought to have ended (until the next amnesty). Here the resulting 
statistical distortion has been disentangled. 

Source: "Immigrants Admitted by Country of Birth and Major Cate- 
gory of Admission," Fiscal Years 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993, Demo- 
graphic Statistics Branch, Statistics Division, Immigration and 
Naturalization Department. 


Immigrant Welfare Participation Rates in 1990, 
by National Origin Group (%) 


Country of Birth 

All Immigrants 

































United Kingdom 








































North and South America: 













Dominican Republic 






El Salvador 





Country of Birth 

All Immigrants 









South Africa 

Australia 3.7 3.8 























All immigrants 9.1 
U.S. native-born 7.4 

Source: George Borjas's tabulations from the 1990 Public Use 
Sample of the U.S. Census. The statistics are calculated in the sub- 
sample of households where the household head is at least eighteen 
years of age and does not reside in group quarters. 

Appendix 4 

In the course of writing this book, I have come across quite a number of 
anti-immigration groups ("Patriot" groups, as I like to call them) and oth- 
ers of related interest. Some, such as FAIR and AICF on the national 
level, are well established. Others, especially at the local level, are in the 
state of chronic uproar that characterizes emerging political movements. 
For that reason, I must emphasize that their appearance here does not nec- 
essarily imply that I endorse them, or even that they will still exist when 
this book is in readers' hands. Nevertheless, since professional politicians 
in democracies are followers not leaders, it is upon groups like this that the 
future of the American nation will depend. 

National Organizations Concerned with Immigration 

American Immigration Control Foundation 
P.O. Box 525 
Monterey, Virginia 24465 
Telephone (703) 468-2022 
FAX (703) 468-2024 

(The Path to National Suicide: 
An Essay on Immigration and Multiculturalism 
by Lawrence Auster is available from AICF: 
Price $3.00 fori copy. 

$2.00 for 2 to 9 copies. 

$1.00 for 10 or more copies.) 

Carrying Capacity Network 
2000 P Street N.W. 
Suite 240 

Washington, D.C. 20036 
Telephone (202) 296-4548 
FAX (202) 296-4609 

Federation for American Immigration Reform 

1666 Connecticut Avenue N.W. 

Suite 400 

Washington, D.C. 20009 

Telephone (202) 328-7004 

FAX (202) 387-3447 

Negative Population Growth, Inc. 
210 The Plaza 


P.O. Box 1206 

Teaneck, New Jersey 07666-1206 
Telephone (201) 837-3555 
FAX (201) 837-0288 

Population-Environment Balance 

2000 P Street N.W. 

Suite 210 

Washington, D.C. 20036 

Telephone (202) 955-5700 

FAX (202) 955-6161 

Regional Organizations Concerned with Immigration 

Border Solution Task Force 
7292 Miramar Road 
San Diego, California 92121 
Telephone (619) 549-1285 
FAX (619) 549-1287 

California Coalition for Immigration Reform 

P.O. Box 2744-1 17 

Huntington Beach, California 92649 

Telephone (714) 846-9682 

FAX — same as telephone 

Voice of Citizens Together 
13601 Ventura Boulevard 
Suite 163 

Sherman Oaks, California 91423 
Telephone (818) 501-2061 
FAX (818) 501-0359 

Appendix 5 

The Harberger Triangle and the Immigration Surplus 

On page 160, 1 said that George Borjas's use of the Harberger Triangle, 
the technique by which he estimates that overall economic gains from im- 
migration accruing to native-born Americans are minimal, was too horri- 
ble to leave lying around in the main part of this book where it might 
terrify the unwary. But hardened readers can contemplate it here: 

See what I mean? But economists really do think like this all the time. 
They can't help it. 

In effect, the Harberger Triangle offers us a simplified model of the 
economy. It consists of capital (the vertical axis, C) and labor (the hori- 
zontal axis, L). Technology — what! describe on pages 164-68 as the [Wfl] 
factor — is considered to be fixed. So the line A-MP L represents the addi- 
tional, or "marginal," output that would be achieved for each additional 
worker employed, assuming that their skills are equal. 

Chart 16 


Wages fall 
as labor 





Suppose the supply of native-born labor in the United States is the verti- 
cal line that goes through N. It intersects the "marginal output" line, 
A-MP L , at B. So the output of the American economy is the quadrilateral 
ABNO. And the price of that labor, reading across to the C axis, is $w o . 

Then a lot of immigrants arrive. This changes the supply of labor. The 
whole labor supply line shifts to the right, from N to M. It now intersects 
the "marginal output" line at C. So the output of the American economy 
is now the quadrilateral ACMO. It's larger than the pre-immigration 
quadrilateral, because it has gained the addition on its right edge, BCMN. 
So the American economy's total output has increased. 

Most of that increased output goes to the immigrants. In the language of 
this chart, they get the quadrilateral DCMN, which is the new market- 
clearing wage (Wj) multiplied by their number, which is the difference be- 
tween N and M. 

But some of the increased output does go to natives. In the language of 
this chart, it's the triangle BCD — the area above the new wage level and 
below the "marginal output" line. This is what Borjas calls the "immigra- 
tion surplus." It's small. 

And it only exists if immigration drives down wages. If immigration did 
not drive down wages, that would imply a horizontal "marginal output" 
line, an infinite demand for labor — and immigrants would get all of the 
increased output. As it is, the "immigration surplus" represents the profits 
that owners of capital get to keep because the increase in labor supply 
means they can pay lower wages. 

Well, how big is the "immigration surplus"? This obviously depends on 
statistical relationships between capital, labor output and prices that must 
be established through research. In the language of this chart, they show 
up as the angles of the respective lines. George Borjas works it out like 

Labor gets about 70 percent of national income. Immigrants make 
up just less than a tenth of the U.S. labor force. The consensus 
among economists is that 10 percent increase in labor supply drives 
wages down about 3 percent. So the size of the triangle BCD, the 
"immigration surplus," is given by the formula Vi (0.7 x 0.1 x 0.03) 
which = 0.001, or about one-tenth of one percent of GNP. 

In a $6 trillion economy, that's about $6 billion. 

Even if you get very liberal, and assume a 10 percent increase in labor 
would drive down wages by 10 percent, that would still work out at an 
"immigration surplus" of a mere $21 billion. 


But although the "immigration surplus" is small, immigrants still have a 
substantial economic impact. By increasing competition for jobs, they in 
effect cause a substantial redistribution of income from native-born work- 
ers to native-born owners of capital. In the language of the chart, native- 
born workers lose the rectangle w o BDw r Native-born owners of capital 
gain it, plus the "immigration surplus." Borjas calculates that at current 
values this redistribution amounts to about $120 billion — or about 2.0 
percent of GNP. 

Of course, it has to be emphasized: THIS IS AN EXTREMELY SIM- 
PLE CALCULATION. It requires a number of heroic assumptions. 

And there are circumstances in which the immigration surplus could be 
larger. For example, there might be what economists call "external ef- 
fects," a sort of synergy resulting from increased scale, even though tech- 
nology has not changed. However, there's no evidence this actually occurs. 
For example, the U.S. economy is not plagued by unexpected, unex- 
plained growth. Rather the reverse. 

More importantly, a more skilled immigrant inflow might work better 
in the U.S. economy than does the current, relatively unskilled, immigrant 
population. George Borjas has calculated that if all the immigrant work- 
force currently in the United States was skilled, the immigration surplus 
might be as much $54 billion, just less than a percentage point of GNP. 

Of course, an extra $54 billion or so would be nice to have. But in return 
for electing a whole new people, it's a pathetically small sum. 

And, in any case, it's an option that is no longer open — short of deport- 
ing the unskilled results of the post-1965 immigration binge. 

note to economists: Don't like these numbers? Well, go work out 
your own. 

It's about time you did. 

[Source: "The Economic Benefits from Immigration," George J. Borjas, 
Journal of Economic Perspectives, Spring 1995.] 



1. "Sometimes the Door Slams Shut," Time, Special Issue, Fall 1993, 33. 


1. Peter Brimelow, "Time to Rethink Immigration?" National Review, June 22, 

2. Interview with Bureau of the Census spokesman; unofficial preliminary esti- 
mate as of April 1993. 

3. Los Angeles Times, January 6, 1992. 

4. Judith T. Fullerton and Company, Access to Prenatal Care for Hispanic 
Women of San Diego County. Latina/Latino Research Program, California 
Policy Seminar (Berkeley: Regents of the University of California, 1993). 

5. Daniel James, Illegal Immigration — An Unfolding Crisis (Lanham, Md.: Uni- 
versity Press of America, 1991); interview. 

6. Senate Committee on Government Affairs, Permanent Subcommittee on 
Investigations, Investigation of the INS Criminal Alien Program, minority staff 
statement, November 10, 1993. 

NOTES 320 

7. Bureau of the Census, Population Profile of the U.S.: 1993, prepared by the 
Bureau of the Census (Washington, D.C., 1993), 32-33; "Assessment of Poten- 
tial Impact of Undocumented Persons on Health Reform: Report by National 
Health Foundation to Presidential Task Force on Health Reform," New York 
Times, May 3, 1993. 

8. See, for example, Peter Brimelow, "American Perestroika?" Forbes, May 14, 

9. Spokesman interview. Center for Education Statistics, Department of Educa- 
tion, Washington D.C. 

10. Orange County Grand Jury, Human Services Committee, Impact of Immigra- 
tion on the County of Orange, Report of July 16 (Santa Ana, Calif., 1993), 5. 

11. Bureau of the Census, Census of Population and Housing: The Foreign-Born 
Population in the U.S., prepared by the Bureau of the Census (Washington, 
D.C, 1990), CP-3-1. 

12. Virginia Postrel, editorial, Reason, May-October 1993. 

13. Robert L. Bartley, letter to the editor, National Review, February 1, 1993. 

14. Tyler Anbinder, Nativism and Slavery: The Northern Know Nothings and the 
Politics of the 1850's (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 34-43, 120- 
21, 1 1 1-13, 27-29, 99-101, 106, 274. Henry J. Gardner is quoted in William G. 
Bean, "Party Transformation in Massachusetts with Special Reference to the 
Antecedents of Republicanism" (Ph.D. diss., Harvard University, 1922), 264. 

15. Bernard A. Weisberger, "A Nation of Immigrants," American Heritage, Feb- 
ruary-March 1994, 75. 

16. Julian L. Simon, The Economic Consequences of Immigration (Cambridge, 
Mass.: Basil Blackwell, 1989), 45-46. 

17. Stephan Thernstrom, ed., Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups 
(Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press, Harvard University Press, 1980), 529-30. 

18. Wayne Lutton interview. See also Lutton, The Myth of Open Borders: The 
American Tradition of Immigration Control (Monterey, Va.: American Immi- 
gration Control Foundation, 1988). 

19. Daniel Seligman, A Question of Intelligence: The IQ Debate in America (New 
York: 1992), 128-30; Mark Snyderman and R. J. Herrnstein, "Intelligence 
Tests and the Immigration Act of 1924," American Psychologist, September 
1983, 986-95. 

20. Thomas Paine, Common Sense, The Rights of Man, and Other Essential Writ- 
ings of Thomas Paine, ed. Sydney Hook (New York: Meridian, 1984), 50, 39. 

21. Thernstrom, Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, 323, 479. 

22. Jack Miles, "Blacks vs. Browns," Atlantic Monthly, October 1992, 41-68. 

23. Don Feder, Washington Times, June 15, 1993. 


1. George J. Borjas, Friends or Strangers: The Impact of Immigrants on the U.S. 
Economy (New York: Basic Books, 1990), 5. 

2. INS spokesman interview. 

3. Ronald Reagan quoted in Wayne Lutton and Palmer Stacey, The Immigration 
Timebomb (Monterey, Va.: American Immigration Control Foundation, 
1985), vii. 

321 NOTES 

4. Ira Mehlman, "The New Jet Set," National Review, March 15, 1993. 

5. Center for Immigration Studies, "Immigration-Related Statistics, 1993." 
Backgrounder no. 4-93, June 1993. 

6. Simon, The Economic Consequences of Immigration, 338. 

7. 1992 INS Yearbook, Statistical Yearbook of the INS (Washington, D.C.: U.S. 
Government Printing Office), 1 1, 21. 

8. George Washington quoted in Matthew Spalding, "From Pluribus to Unum: 
Immigration and the Founding Fathers," Policy Review, Winter 1994, 40. 

9. Thernstrom, Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, 489. 

10. Ibid., 503. 

11. Jeffrey S. Passel and Barry Edmonston, Immigration and Race in the United 
States: The 20th and 21st Centuries (Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute, 
1992), 2-3. 

12. Campbell Gibson, "The Contribution of Immigration to the Growth and Eth- 
nic Diversity of the American Population," Proceedings of the American Philo- 
sophical Society 136, no. 2 (1992), 165. 

13. Passel and Edmonston, Immigration an d Race: The 20th and 2 1st Centuries, 8; 
Thernstrom, Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, 6. 

14. David Hackett Fischer, Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America (New 
York: Oxford University Press, 1989), 17. 

1 5. Gibson, "The Contribution of Immigration," 173. 

16. Passel and Edmonston, Immigration and Race: The 20th and 2 1st Centuries, 6, 
fig. 10. 

17. Michael S. Teitelbaum, "The Population Threat," Foreign Affairs, Winter 
1992-93, 64. 

18. David A. Coleman, "The World on the Move? International Migration in 
1992" (paper given at the European Population Conference, Geneva, March 
23-26, 1993); and interview. 

19. United Nations Population Fund, The State of World Population 1993 (New 
York: UN Population Fund, 1993), 2. 

20. Ibid., 7. 

21. Ibid., 12. 

22. See George J. Borjas, "The Economics of Immigration: A Survey," Journal of 
Economic Literature, December 1994. 


1. Patrick Burns, letter to the editor, National Review, August 3, 1993. 

2. Philip Hart quoted in Lawrence Auster, The Path to National Suicide: An Essay 
on Immigration and Multiculturalism (Monterey, Va.: American Immigration 
Control Foundation, 1990), 14. 

3. Lyndon B. Johnson quoted in Congressional Quarterly Almanac: 1965 (Wash- 
ington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Service, 1965), 479. 

4. See, for example, poll by Tarrance Associates, October 1983, cited in Wall 
Street Journal, "Feelings About Foreigners," May 23, 1993. 

5. Jeffrey S. Passel and Barry Edmonston, Immigration and Race: Recent Trends in 
Immigration to the U.S. (Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute, 1992), table 8. 

6. Ibid., 17. 

NOTES 322 

7. Ibid. 

8. William H. Frey interview (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Population 
Studies Center), and William H. Frey, "The New White Flight," American 
Demographics (April 1994). Fray's work is also discussed in a two-part series by 
Jonathan Tilove and Joe Hallinan, "U.S. Melting Pot Starts to Brew a Bitter 
Taste" and "Whites Flee Immigrants for 'Whiter' States," Newhouse News Ser- 
vice; see, for example, Sunday Oregonian, August 8, 1993, and Ann Arbor News, 
August 22, 1993. 

9. B. Meredith Burke, "An Environmental Impact Statement for Immigration," 
Wall Street Journal, April 1, 1993. 


1. Passel and Edmonston, Immigration and Race: Recent Trends, table 3. 

2. Ibid., 17. 

3. Lawrence Auster, The Path to National Suicide: An Essay on Immigration and 
Multiculturalism (Monterey, Va.: AICF, 1990), 10-26. 

4. Cynthia Gorney, "Sirhan," Washington Post, August 20, 1979. 

5. Scope (Center for Immigration Studies; Summer 1993), 15. 

6. Rosemary Jenks, Center for Immigration Studies, interview. 

7. Department of State official, interview. 

8. INS official, interview. 

9. Jerry Tinker, telephone interview by Joseph E. Fallon, September 10 and Oc- 
tober 13, 1993. 

10. U.S. Department of Commerce News, Economics & Statistics Administration, 
Bureau of the Census, CB91-215. "Census Bureau Releases 1990 Count on 
Specific Racial Groups," released June 12, 1991 . 

11. Auster, The Path to National Suicide, 14. 

12. George J. Borjas, Friends or Strangers: The Impact of Immigrants on the U.S. 
Economy (New York: Basic Books, 1990), 7-25. 

13. Robert B. Reich, review of Friends or Strangers, by Borjas, Washington 
Monthly, quoted on paperback edition cover, 1 99 1 . 

14. INS official quoted by Pete Carey and Steve Johnson, "Special Interests 
Shaped Reform of 1990 Legal Immigration Law," in, e.g., Riverside Press En- 
terprise, July 16, 1993. 

15. Ben J. Wattenberg, The First Universal Nation: Leading Indicators and 
Ideas About the Surge of America in the 1990s (New York: Free Press, 1991), 
72-75, 12. 

1 6. Bureau of the Census, Census of Population and Housing, CP-3- 1 . 

17. Ronald Reagan quoted in Congressional Quarterly Almanac: 1980 (Washing- 
ton, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Service, 1980), 13B. 

18. Passel and Edmonston, Immigration and Race: The 20th and 21st Centuries, 8, 
figures 15 and 16. 


1. Newsweek, August 9, 1993; Los Angeles Times, September 20, 1993; Orlando 
Sentinel, July 27, 1993; New York Times, October 18, 1993. 

323 NOTES 

2. Michele A. Heller, "Too Many Immigrants?" Hispanic Magazine, April 
1994, 27. 

3. "Public Opinion and Demographic Report," American Enterprise, January- 
February 1994, 97. 

4. Deborah Sontag, "Calls to Restrict Immigration Come from Many Quarters," 
New York Times, December 13, 1992. 

5. "Man Rapes and Robs Two Women in Chelsea," New York Times, May 27, 
1993; "Two Women in Rape Nightmare," New York Post, May 27, 1993. 

6. Dean Rusk and Sam Ervin quoted by Auster, The Path to National Suicide, 

7. Michael Kinsley, TRB, New Republic, December 28, 1992. 

8. Emmanuel Celler quoted in Congressional Quarterly Almanac: 1965 (Washing- 
ton, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Service, 1965), 472, 470. 

9. Joseph Sobran, "The Natives Are Restless," National Review, February 22, 
1985, 25. 

10. Raoul Lowery Contreras, "Racists Wish to Turn America as It Had Evolved 
in 1965 [sic]" (Sacramento) ElHispano, August 11, 1993. 

11. Norman Podhoretz, Making It (New York: Random House, 1967), 3-27. 

12. Paul Gigot, Wall Street Journal, December 13, 1991. 

13. Borjas, Friends or Strangers, 158. 

14. Donald R. Morris, The Washing of the Spears: A History of the Rise of the Zulu 
Nation Under Chaka and Its Fall in the Zulu War of 1879 (New York: Simon 
and Schuster, 1965), 47-121. 

15. Simon, The Economic Consequences of Immigration, xxix. 

16. Julian L. Simon, interview by James Cook, Forbes, April 2, 1990. 

17. Julian L. Simon, The Ultimate Resource (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University 
Press, 1981), 9. 

18. Julian L. Simon, Good Mood: The New Psychology of Overcoming Depression 
(La Salle, 111.: Open Court, 1993), 5, 212. 

19. Walt Harrington, "The Heretic Becomes Respectable," Washington Post Mag- 
azine, August 18, 1985. 

20. Michael J. Mandel, "Does America Need More 'Huddled Masses'? Yes," Busi- 
ness Week, March 12, 1990. 

21. Borjas, Friends or Strangers, viii. 

22. A. M. Rosenthal, "A Haitian Father," New York Times, December 3, 1991. 

23. INS spokesman interview. 

24. Ira Mehlman. 


1. Deborah Sontag, New York Times, December 13, 1992. 

2. Earl Raab, Jewish Bulletin, July 23, 1993, 17. 

3. Earl Raab, Jewish Bulletin, February 19, 1993, 23. 

4. Podhoretz, Making It, 186-87. 

5. Kevin P. Phillips, The Emerging Republican Majority (New Rochelle, N.Y.: Ar- 
lington House, 1969), 254. 

NOTES 324 

6. Margaret L. Usdansky, "Minority Boom in Texas, California," USA Today, 
April 22, 1994. 

7. Rosemary Jenks, ed., Center for Immigration Studies, "Argentina," in Immi- 
gration and Nationality Policies of Leading Migration Nations (Washington, 
D.C.: Center for Immigration Studies, 1992), 5. 

8. See, for example, Hermann Kinder and Werner Hilgemann, eds., The Anchor 
Atlas of World History, trans, Ernest A. Menze (Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor 
Press, Doubleday, 1974), 1:117. 

9. Colin McEvedy and Richard Jones, Atlas of World Population History (Har- 
mondsworth, U.K.: Penguin Books, 1978), 19-39; Geoffrey Barraclough and 
Norman Stone, The Times Atlas of World History, 3d ed. (London: Times 
Books, 1989), 98-99. 


1. Julian Simon, National Review, February 1, 1993, 27-29. 

2. Thomas Sowell, The Economics and Politics of Race: An International Perspec- 
tive (New York: Quill, 1983), 90-92; Ethnic America: A History (New York: 
Basic Books, 1981), 98-99. 

3. Simon, The Economic Consequences of Immigration, 337. 

4. See, for example, Wall Street Journal, July 3, 1990. 

5. Simon, The Economic Consequences of Immigration, 342. 

6. Center for Immigration Studies spokesman. 

7. Borjas, Friends or Strangers, 219. 

8. Unless otherwise indicated, data in Chapter 7 and Chapter 8 are drawn from 
the work of George J. Borjas (Professor of Economics, University of Califor- 
nia, San Diego, Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research). 
Principal sources are "The Economics of Immigration," Journal of Economic 
Literature, December 1994; "Immigration Research in the 1980s: A Turbulent 
Decade," in Research Frontiers in Industrial Relations and Human Resources, 
ed. D. Lewin, O. Mitchell, P. Sherer (Industrial Relations and Research Asso- 
ciation, 1992); "Immigration and Ethnicity," NBER Reporter, National Bu- 
reau of Economic Research, Fall 1993; "The Economic Benefits from 
Immigration," forthcoming; "Assimilation and Changes in Cohort Quality 
Revisited: What Happened to Immigrant Skills in the 1980s," Journal of Labor 
Economics, forthcoming; "Ethnic Capital and Intergenerational Mobility," 
Quarterly Journal of Economics, February 1992. 

See also George Borjas, Richard B. Freeman, eds., Immigration and the 
Work Force: Economic Consequences for the United States and Source Areas 
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992); George Borjas, Friends or Stran- 
gers: The Impact of Immigration on the US. Economy (New York: Basic 
Books, 1990). 

Borjas's conclusions are widely echoed in the literature on the recent migra- 
tion: for example, Michael Baker and Dwayne Benjamin, "The Performance 
of Immigrants in the Canadian Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, 
forthcoming; Deborah A. Cobb-Clark, "Immigrant Selectivity and Wages: 
The Evidence for Women," American Economic Review, September 1983; Ra- 
chel M. Friedberg, "The Labor Market Assimilation of Immigrants in the 

325 NOTES 

United States: The Role of Age at Arrival," Brown University, 1992; Robert J. 
LaLonde and Robert H. Topel, "The Assimilation of Immigrants in the U.S. 
Labor Market," in Immigration and the Work Force, ed. G. Borjas and 
R. Freeman, above. 
9. Stephen Moore, Insight, November 22, 1993. 

10. Spokesman, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, Education In- 
formation Branch, Department of Education, interview. 

11. House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Human Resources, 
Immigrants and Welfare: New Myths, New Realities, report prepared by Mi- 
chael Fix and Jeffrey S. Passel, Urban Institute, Washington, D.C., presented 
November 15, 1993. 

12. House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Human Resources, 
Patterns of Public Assistance Receipt Among Immigrants: Results from the 1990 
and 1980 Censuses, report prepared by Frank D. Bean et al. Population Re- 
search Center, University of Texas at Austin, presented November 15, 1993. 

13. 1992 Statistical Yearbook of the INS (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government 
Printing Office), table 66, 162. 

14. Anbinder, Nativism and Slavery, 108. 

15. Wayne Lutton, The Myth of Open Borders: The American Tradition of Immi- 
gration Control (Monterey, Va.: American Immigration Control Foundation, 
1988), 4, 11. 

16. Thernstrom, Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, 491. 

17. "The Immigration and Control Act: A Report on the Legalized Alien Popula- 
tion"; John Bjerke, Project Director (INS: U.S. Government Printing Office, 

18. House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Human Resources, 
testimony by Mark J. Lefcowitz, Department of Human Development, Fair- 
fax County, Va., November 15, 1993. 

19. IRS spokesman, interview by Roy Beck, in Social Contract, March 11, 1994. 

20. Phyllis A. Bermingham quoted in Roy Beck, "The Ordeal of Immigration in 
Wisconsin," Atlantic Monthly, April 1994. 

21. Simon, The Economic Consequences of Immigration, 128. 

22. Donald Huddle, "The Net National Costs of Immigration in 1993," (Washing- 
ton, D.C.: Carrying Capacity Network), issued July 20, 1993, update issued 
June 27, 1994. Subsequent Huddle studies published by Carrying Capacity 
Network include "The Net Costs of Immigration to California" (November 4, 
1993); "The Net Costs of Immigration to Texas" (March 2, 1994). 

23. Interview with New York City Board of Education spokesman. 

24. Department of State official, interview by author. 

25. John C. Goodman and Aldona Robbins, The Immigration Solution (Dallas, 
Tex.: National Center for Policy Analysis, 1992). 

26. Sanford C. Bernstein and Company, Municipal Research, The State of Califor- 
nia (New York: Sanford C. Bernstein and Company, 1991), 4, 7. 

27. George J. Borjas, National Review, December 13, 1993, 42-43. 

NOTES 326 


1. Richard A. Easterlin, "Immigration: Economic and Social Characteristics," in 
Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, ed. Thernstrom, 485. 

2. Edwin S. Rubenstein, economic consultant, New York, citing Economic Re- 
port of the President 1994, interview. 

3. Peter Brimelow and Leslie Spencer, "You Can't Get There from Here," 
Forbes, July 6, 1992. 

4. Claudia Goldin, The Political Economy of Immigration Restriction in the 
United States, 1890 to 1921, National Bureau of Economic Research, Working 
Paper no. 4345 (Cambridge, Mass., 1993). 

5. Edwin S. Rubenstein, economic consultant, New York City, interview; data 
from McKinsey. 

6. Larry Neal and Paul Uselding, "Immigration, a Neglected Source of American 
Economic Growth: 1790 to 1912," Oxford Economic Papers (March 1972). 

7. Economic Council of Canada, New Faces in the Crowd: Economic and Social 
Impacts of Immigration (Ottawa: Economic Council of Canada, 1991). 

8. Neville R. Norman and Kathryn F. Meikle, The Economic Effects of Immigra- 
tion on Australia (Melbourne: Committee for Economic Development of Aus- 
tralia, 1985). 

9. Virginia D. Abernethy, Population Politics: The Choices That Shape Our Fu- 
ture (New York: Insight Books, 1993), 197-21 1 ; Richard A. Easterlin, Michael 
L. Wachter, and Susan M. Wachter, "Demographic Influences on Economic 
Stability: The United States Experience," Proceedings of the American Philo- 
sophical Society (1978). 

10. Neal and Uselding, "Immigration, a Neglected Source of American Economic 
Growth: 1790 to 1912," Oxford Economic Papers, March 1972. 

11. Michael S. Teitelbaum and Jay M. Walker, The Fear of Population Decline 
(Orlando, Fla.: Academic Press, 1985). 

12. Simon Smith Kuznets, Modern Economic Growth: Rate, Structure and Spread 
(New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1966). 

13. Simon, The Economic Consequences of Immigration, 252. 

14. Julian L. Simon quoted in Forbes, April 2, 1990. 

15. Jared Taylor, Shadows of the Rising Sun (New York: Quill, 1983), 86. 

16. Ronald Takaki, A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America (Bos- 
ton: Little, Brown, 1993), 154. 

17. James Paul Allen and Eugene James Turner, We the People: An Atlas of Amer- 
ica's Ethnic Diversity (New York: Macmillan, 1988), 147. 

18. Frederick Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom (1885; reprint, New York: 
Dover Publications, 1969), 454. 

19. Booker T. Washington quoted in John Tanton, "Cast Down Your Bucket 
Where You Are," Social Contract, occasional paper 92-12, 1992. 

20. Cited in Simon, The Economic Consequences of Immigration, 228-29. 

21. Ibid., 249, 347. 

22. Borjas, "The Economics of Immigration," 48. 

23. Andrew Hacker, Two Nations: Black and White, Separate, Hostile, Unequal 
(New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1992), 132. 

24. Milton Friedman, interview by Peter Brimelow, Forbes, December 12, 1988. 

327 NOTES 


1 . Fischer, Albion's Seed, 787, 834, 874. 

2. Interviews with Office of Territorial and International Affairs, Department of 
the Interior, Washington, D.C., and for the offices of American Samoa, Feder- 
ated States of Micronesia, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, and 
the Republic of the Marshall Islands. 

3. Ted Robert Gurr, ed., Violence in America, vol. 2, The History of Crime, 3d ed. 
(Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1989). 

4. Ted Robert Gurr, "Drowning in a Crime Wave," New York Times, April 13, 

5. George Borjas, interview. 

6. Federal prison figures from Senate Committee on Government Affairs, Perma- 
nent Subcommittee on Investigations, Investigation of the INS Criminal Alien 

7. Los Angeles County, Countywide Criminal Justice Coordination Committee, 
Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Criminal Aliens, Impact of Repeat Arrests of De- 
portable Criminal Aliens in Los Angeles County, Final Report, July 15 (Los An- 
geles, 1992). 

8. House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, 
and International Law, testimony by Judge David O. Carter, November 1, 

9. Statement of Kathleen M. Hawk, Director, Federal Bureau of Prisons to 
House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on International Law, Immigra- 
tion and Refugees, February 23, 1994 (one percent confined for "other drug 

10. California State Department of Corrections, Center for Immigration Studies, 

11. Jared Taylor, Paved with Good Intentions: The Failure of Race Relations in 
Contemporary America (New York: Carroll and Graf, 1992), 37. 

12. Robert I. Friedman, "Brighton Beach Goodfellas," Vanity Fair, January 1993. 

13. New York Times, April 5, 1994. 

14. Sowell, Ethnic America, 29. 

15. Thernstrom, The Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, 491. 

16. Carol Innerst, Washington Times, March 21, 1993; August 19, 1994. 

17. New York Times, May 4, 1987. 

18. Spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, quoted in the Detroit 
News, April 11, 1992. 

19. American Medical News, March 23-30, 1992; San Diego Union, August 31, 
1986; American Family Physician, March 1992. 

20. U.S. Institute of Medicine spokesman quoted in John Maurice, (London) New 
Scientist; as reprint, World Press Review, February 1994. 


22. Wattenberg, The First Universal Nation, 73. 

23. Leon F. Bouvier, 50 Million Calif ornians? (Washington, D.C.: Center for Im- 
migration Studies, 1991). 

NOTES 328 


1 . Quoted in Lutton, The Myth of Open Borders; Carlos E. Cortes, "Mexicans," in 
Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, ed. Thernstrom, 701. 

2. See, for example, K. L. Billingsley, "Seizing the Southwest for a New Nation 
Called Aztlan," Washington Times, October 24, 1993. 

3. Fernando Romero, "Mexico's Influence Growing in U.S.," San Diego Union- 
Tribune, August 22, 1993. 

4. All figures from New York Times, November 5, 1992. 

5. Gerald F. Seib, "A Black Thing: Quiet Discontent Over the System," Wall 
Street Journal, May 11, 1994. 

6. Anbinder, Nativism and Slavery, 106. 


1. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Pandaemonium: Ethnicity in International Politics 
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 1. 

2. Philip Gleason, "American Identity and Americanization," in Harvard Ency- 
clopedia of American Ethnic Groups, ed. Thernstrom, 44. 

3. Jesse dickering quoted in Harold J. Abramson, "Assimilation and Plural- 
ism," in ibid., 152. 

4. Allen and Turner, We the People, 207. 

5. Anbinder, Nativism and Slavery, 111. 

6. John Jay, "The Federalist," no. 2, in The federalist Papers, by Alexander 
Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, ed. Clinton Rossiter (1787-88; re- 
print, New York: Mentor, 1961), 38. 

7. Theodore Roosevelt quoted in Edmund Morris, The Rise of Theodore Roose- 
velt (1979; reprint, New York: Ballantine Books, 1980), 462-65, 477. 

8. Calvin Coolidge quoted in Borjas, Friends or Strangers, 29. 

9. Will Herberg, Protestant, Catholic, Jew: An Essay in American Religious Soci- 
ology, rev. ed. (Garden City, N. Y.: Anchor Books, Doubleday, 1 960). 

10. Michael Novak, The Rise of the Unmeltable Ethnics (New York: Macmillan, 

11. Robert C. Christopher, Crashing the Gates: The De-WASPing of America's 
Power Elite (New York: Touchstone, Simon and Schuster, 1989), 53-54. 

12. Fischer, Albion's Seed, 17. 

13. Thernstrom, Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, 322. 

14. Alexis de Tocqueville, ed. J. P. Mayer, Democracy in America, 2 vols. (1835 
and 1840; reprint, New York: Anchor Books, Doubleday, 1969), 278, foot- 

15. Benjamin Franklin quoted in Thernstrom, Harvard Encyclopedia of American 
Ethnic Groups, 657. 

16. Anbinder, Nativism and Slavery, ix, 275. 

17. Report of the California legislature quoted in Borjas, Friends or Strangers, 27. 

1 8. Sowell, Ethnic America, 42. 

19. Sowell, 77ie Economics and Politics oj Race, 71. 

20. Sowell, Ethnic America, 296. 

21. Thernstrom, Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, 37-38. 

329 NOTES 

22. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., The Disuniting of America (New York: W. W. Norton, 

23. Frederick R. Lynch, Invisible Victims: White Males and the Crisis of Affirma- 
tive Action (New York: Praeger, 1991). 

24. Linda Chavez, interview. 

25. Dennis Farney, "Mosaic of Hope: Ethnic Identities Clash with Student Ideal- 
ism at a California College," Wall Street Journal, December 2, 1992. 


1. Pierre Elliott Trudeau, "New Treason of the Intellectuals," in Federalism and 
the French Canadians (Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, 1968), 179. 

2. Pierre Elliott Trudeau quoted in Richard Gwyn, The Northern Magus: Pierre 
Trudeau and Canadians (1980; reprint, Markham, Ontario: Paperjacks, 
1981), 246. 

3. Hugh MacLennan, Two Solitudes (Toronto: Lauren tian Library, Macmillan, 
1972), 410-12. 

4. Louis Joseph Papineau in Colombo's Canadian Quotations (Edmonton, Canada: 
Hurtig, 1974), 462. 

5. Irving Kristol, Two Cheers for Capitalism (New York: Basic Books, 1978), 

6. Katherine Betts, Ideology and Immigration (Melbourne: Melbourne University 
Press, 1988), 52. 

7. Cokie Roberts, "Good Old-Fashioned Public Servants," Washington Post, Oc- 
tober 28, 1992. 

8. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, "One Word of Truth" . . . The Nobel Speech on Litera- 
ture, 1970 (London: The Bodley Head, 1972), 15-16. 


1. A. M. Rosenthal, "Aliens: Let Them Work," New York Times, February 9, 

2. Eugene McCarthy, A Colony of the World: The United States Today (New 
York: Hippocrene Books, 1992). 

3. Silvestre Reyes quoted in Daniel James, "El Paso Shows How to Defend the 
Line," Human Events, February 11, 1994, 10-11. 

4. Bartley, National Review, February 1, 1993. 

5. John Lachs, Professor of Philosophy, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Ten- 
nessee, interview. 

6. Roy Beck, "Religions and the Environment: Commitment High Until U.S. 
Population Raised," Social Contract, Winter 1992-93, 87. 

7. Thernstrom, Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, 410. 

8. Rosemary Jenks, Center for Immigration Studies; INS Press Office, interviews. 

9. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon quoted in Garrett Hardin, Living Within Limits: Ecol- 
ogy, Economics and Population Taboos (New York: Oxford University Press, 
1993), 235. 

10. Barbara Vobejda, Washington Post, November 4, 1993. 

11. "Editorial Notebook," New York Times, September 7, 1993. 

NOTES 330 

12. Hong Kong government official in New York, interview. 

13. Center for Immigration Studies, "Mexico," in Immigration and Nationality 
Policies of Leading Migration Nations, 8. 


1. Jose Serrano, in Ralph Z. Hallow, "Immigration Reformers Fearful of '2% So- 
lution,' " Washington Times, July 29, 1993. 

2. Rosemary Jenks, Center for Immigration Studies, "United Kingdom," in Immi- 
gration and Nationality Policies of Leading Migration Nations, 2. 

3. Vernon M. Briggs, Jr., Mass Immigration and the National Interest (Armonk, 
N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe, 1992), 80-83. 


1. Allen and Turner, We the People, 178-79. 

2. Takaki, A Different Mirror, 1-2. 

3. Linda Chavez, Out of the Barrio: Toward a New Politics of Hispanic Assimilation 
(New York: Basic Books, 1991); Peter Skerry, Mexican Americans: The Ambiva- 
lent Minority (New York: Free Press, 1993). 

4. Alejandro Portes and Ruben G. Rumbaut, "The Educational Progress of Chil- 
dren of Immigrants," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social 
Sciences (December 1993). 

5. San Diego Union-Tribune, August 22, 1993. 

6. Scott Reid, Lament for a Notion: The Life and Death of Canada's Bilingualism 
(Vancouver, Canada: Arsenal Pulp Press, 1993), 49, 1 19-22. 

7. Lance Izumi, interview with Chavez, Out of the Barrio, 139-40; Skerry, Mexican 
Americans, 68. 

8. Census CPR-P20, No. 468, March 1992, Table F, Bureau of the Census, "Cen- 
sus Bureau Releases 1990 Census Counts on Hispanic Population Groups," 
CB91-216, Table 1, Race and Hispanic Origin for the U.S., June 12, 1994. 


Page numbers in italics refer to charts, tables, and maps. 

abolitionists, 13, 214 

abortion, 165 

AFDC (Aid to Families with 

Dependent Children), 146, 149 
affirmative-action quotas, 11, 66, 

217-18, 219, 263, 264 
age of population in, 51 
immigration from, 60, 61-62, 77, 83, 

Zulus in, 108, 109 
see also specific countries 
African Americans, see blacks 
African National Congress, 109 
agribusiness, immigrant labor in, 174 
agricultural guest-worker program, 

AICF (American Immigration Control 
Foundation), 313 

Aid to Families with Dependent 
Children (AFDC), 146, 149 

Air Force, U.S., in Lancashire, 21 

Alabama, 121 

Albion's Seed (Fischer), 179-80 

Alexander II, czar of Russia, 1$ 

Algeria, 130 

Alien and Sedition Acts (1798), 246 

alienism, alienists: 
author's use of term, 105, 119 
immigration debate and, 105-7 

alien nation, use of term, xxi 

Alsace-Lorraine, 194 

altruism, promiscuous, 249 

AmerAsian Homecoming Act, 247 



America ("racial hegemony of white 

Americans"), 17-18, 58-59, 67, 

American Coalition of Patriotic 

Societies, 76 
American Federation of Labor, 20 
American Heritage, 14 
American Historical Society, 257 
American Immigration Control 

Foundation (AICF), 313 
Americanization, 13, 56, 128, 207, 211, 

invention of word, 216 
recommendations for, 264-67 
see also assimilation 
American Legion, 76 
American party, 200 
American Revolution, xiii, xx, 192, 

political culture of, 16-18 
American Samoa, 180 
amnesty, for illegal immigrants, xv, 6, 

15, 28, 32, 32, 61, 62, 82, 83, 149, 

Anaheim, Calif., 36 
ancient world, movement of peoples 

in, 131-33 
anti-Catholicism, 12-13 
anti-immigration groups ("Patriot" 

groups), 313-M 
anti-Semitism, 12, 15, 120, 186 
anti-Vietnam War movement, xxi 
Appalachian South: 

as cultural hearth, 179 

homogeneity of, 121 
Arab Caliphate, 124-25 
Argentina, 129, 287 
Asians, Asian immigration, 60, 61, 75, 

77, 89, 90, 99, 101 
assimilation of, 270-72, 274 
in California, 69, 70-71, 138, 214-15 
citizenship of, xiv, 15 
environmental consequences of, 

Pincer Chart and, 63, 68 

political consequences and, 196-97 
restriction of, xiv, 16, 21 
R. Kennedy's assessment of, 78 
welfare participation rates of, 311 
see also Chinese immigration; 
Korean immigration, Korean 
assimilation, 10, 19, 48-49, 211-16, 
political power and, 195 
problems with, 7, 21 1, 214-15 
reverse, 273 

of Zulus vs. English, 108 
Associated Press, 137 
asylum-seekers, 93 
fraudulent, 96 

1965 Immigration Act and, 81-83 
Atlanta, Ga., 69 
Atlantic Monthly, 20, 150 
Auster, Lawrence, 76, 10 1-2, 217, 313 
Australia, 14, 312 
immigration to, 85, 130, 164, 

230-31, 262 
Third World vs. white population 
in, 130 
Austria, 311 

Austro-Hungarian Empire, 120, 194, 

Back to the Future (movie), 164, 

Balagula, Marat, 186 
Bangladesh, Bangladeshis, 52, 131 
Bartley, Robert L., 10, 140, 240, 241, 

Bauer, Peter, 166 
Beck, Roy, 150 
Bedini, Gaetano, 13 
Belgium, 126 
Bell Curve, The (Herrnstein and 

Murray), 56/1 
Benda, Julien, 1 14 
Bermingham, Phyllis A., 150 
Bernstein, Sanford C, 155 
Betts, Katherine, 230-31 
Beyond the Melting Pot (Glazer and 

Moynihan), 211 



bigotry, diversity and, 120-23 
bilingualism, 77, 194, 219, 232, 263, 

biracial society, 17, 64, 124 
Birth Dearth, The (Wattenberg), 88 
birthrates, economics and, 53 
birthrates, U.S., 48, 49 

immigration relative to, 43-45, 116 

natalist policies and, 165 

replacement, 43 

white vs. black, 68 
birthright citizenship, 3-4, 130, 149, 

Black Hundreds, 12 
blacks, 48, 90, 106, 121, 249 

birthrates of, 68, 90 

citizenship granted to, xiv, 4, 15 

Civil Rights movement and, 102-3, 

crime and, 184 

education of, 142-43 

geographic polarization of, 69, 

immigrant-related population 
increases of, 68 

immigration effects on, 11, 20, 

loss of majority-minority status of, 

middle class of, 69 
migration of, 11, 70, 174 
Pincer Chart and, 63, 64-65, 67-68 
political consequences and, 196, 199 
Roosevelt's views on, 210 
separatism and, 199 
as unskilled workers, 1 1 
urban concentrations of, 69 
welfare and, 146, 147 
whites' relations with, 65, 121, 124, 

see also Africa; slaves, slavery 
Boggs, Thomas Hale, Sr., 231 
Bohemia, 131 
Border Line and Boundary bill, 

Border Patrol, U.S., 33, 65, 234-39, 

open, 140-41 
U.S. loss of control of, 4-5, 27, 

33-35, 183, 234-38 
Border Solution Task Force, 314 
Borjas, George J., 85, 108, 112, 155, 

177, 251 
on cost of immigration, 152-53 
on ethnic differences, 179 
Harberger Triangle and, 160-61, 

162, 5/5-17 
on skill levels, 142, 143-44 
welfare participation as viewed by, 
147-48, 147, 150-51, 181 
Boston, Mass., Irish politicians in, 123 
Bouvier, Leon, 45-46, 64, 188 
Boxer, Barbara, 151 
bracero program, 266 
Brazil, 126, 130, 245, 253 
Brecht, Bertolt, xvii-xviii, 58, 72-73 
Briggs, Vernon M., Jr., 262 
Brimelow, Alexander James Frank 
(son), 20, 103, 229, 249-50 
discrimination against, 11 
as U.S. citizen, 3-4 
Brimelow, Margaret Alice Laws 
(Maggy) (wife), 4, 103, 263 
Brimelow, Peter (author): 
as Forbes editor, xix 
Friedman interviewed by, 176 
as immigrant, xviii-xix, 10 
National Review article of, 3, 9-10, 
14, 19, 20, 58, 88, 96, 99-100, 106, 
British immigration, 59, 85, 285, 311 
buffer settlements and, 37 
in Colonial Era, xiii, 15, 179 
Zulu immigration compared with, 
British West Indies, immigration from, 

Brownson, Orestes A. , 2 1 6 
Brownson's Quarterly Review, 216 
Buchanan, Patrick J., 19-20, 96, 97, 

"building America" myth, xviii, 163 
Burke, B. Meredith, 72 



Burke, Edmund, 275 
Burns, Patrick, 59 
Bush, George, 33, 195, 197 
Bush administration, illegal 

immigration and, 27 
Business Week, 55, 112, 152 
Butler, Pierce, 21 
Byzantium, 125 

California, 35, 36, 122 
Asians in, 69, 70-71, 138, 214-15 
decline in bond rating of, 155 
emergence of dual economy in, 

foreign-born prison population in, 

geographic polarization and, 69, 

70-7/, 72 
Hispanic assimilation in, 272-73 
illegal immigrants in, 94, 151-52 
language-assistance programs in, 

opinion on immigration in, 94 
Proposition 187 in, 152/1 
public assistance in, 151 
restriction of Chinese immigration 

to, 21 
Southern, 2 1 , 69, 1 52, 1 88 
tuberculosis in, 187 
California Coalition for Immigration 

Reform, 314 
Cambodians, welfare participation of, 

Campbell, Kim, 200 
Canada, 226-29 
English-speaking vs. 

French-speaking, 122-23, 126, 

226-28, 265 
immigration from, 60, 85, 305, 307, 

immigration to, 85, 130, 163-64, 

190, 262 
population of, 54 
Third World vs. white population 

in, 130 
Trudeau's vision for, 222-24 
Canadian Nationalism, 223 
capital, economic growth and, 166 


cultural prerequisites for, 176-77 

firm in, 226 

metamarket and, 175-77 

New Class and, 230 
capital punishment, 194 
Carey, Pete, 87 
Caribbean immigration, 61, 62, 77, 

3<>5> 307 
Carmichael, Stokely, 196 
carrying capacity, 55 
Carrying Capacity Network, 189, 289 
Carter, David O., 183 
Carter, Jimmy, 89 

Catholicism, see Roman Catholicism 
Celler, Emanuel, 101 
Census, U.S. (1940), 67 
Census, U.S. (i95<>)» 67 
Census, U.S. (i96o)» 9° 
Census, U.S. (i99<>)> 67, 68, 209 

welfare participation rates and, 
Census Bureau, U.S., 36, 45, 46, 50, 
88-89, 1 1 £-20, 209, 257 

ethnic revolution predicted by, 
62-64, 63, 122 

on linguistic isolation, 8 
Center for Immigration Studies, 131 
Centers for Disease Control and 

Prevention, 187 
Chad, 126 
Chaka, 108 
Chaldeans, 185 
Chavez, Linda, 219, 272 
Chicago, 111., 36, 182 
dickering, Jesse, 208 
children's books, 103 
China, 38, 121, 245 

immigration to, 251 

per capita output of, 158 
Chinese immigration, 214-15, 270, 

309, 3H 

illegal, 27 

"mafia" of, 185 

restriction of, xiv, 21 
Chisholm, Shirley, 196 
cholera, 186, 187 
Christopher, Robert C, 21 1-12 



Cisneros, Henry, 25, 96 

migration to, 52 

revitalization of, 1 1 

see also specific cities 
citizenship, Japanese, 171 
citizenship, U.S., 265-66 

of Asians, xiv, 15 

attack on idea of , 2 1 9 

of author's son, 3-4 

of blacks, xiv, 4, 15 

Fourteenth Amendment and, xiv, 

linguistic isolation and, 8 
civil rights, 264 
immigration treated as, 93, 102-4, 
Civil Rights Act (1964), 102-3 
Civil War, U.S., 4, 15, 21, 69, 121 

Know Nothings and, 13, 214 
clean-air and clean-water regulations, 

Clinton, Bill, 6, 197, 198 
Clinton administration, illegal 

immigration and, 27 
Coastal South speech region, 180 
Coleman, David A., 51 
college graduates, 142, 144-45 
drug operations of, 185 
welfare participation rates of, 311 
Colonial Era: 
economic growth in, xviii 
immigration in, xi, 15, 179, 192, 
Commentary, 181 
Committee for Economic 

Development, Australian, 164 
Common Sense (Paine), xx-xxi, 16-17, 

Communist Manifesto, The (Marx and 

Engels), 224 
Communitarian Network, 249 
Congress, U.S., 37, 81, 86, 180 
1965 Immigration Act and, 76-77 
term limits for, 231 
Trudeau's speech to, 224 
Congressional Record, 101 

conservatism, conservatives: 

silence of, 107-9 

Sontag's view of, 95-96 
Conservative party, N.Y., 199 
Constitution, U.S., 192, 209-10, 222, 
231, 232 

Fourteenth Amendment of, xiv, 3-4, 
Constitutional Convention (1787), 21 
Contreras, Raoul Lowery, 105-7, 120, 

Cook, Jim, no, 169 
Coolidge, Calvin, 138, 211 
Coward, Noel, 167 
Crashing the Gates (Christopher), 

Crevecoeur, Michel Guillaume Jean 

de, 212 
Crimean War, 214 
criminals, crime, 150 

alien composition of, 7, 182-83 

illegal immigrants and, 6, 183, 184, 

immigration regulation and, xiii, 148 

organized, 185-86 

race of, 97-98, 184 

as social consequence of 
immigration, 182-86 
Cromwell, Oliver, 15, 269 
Cuban Adjustment Act (1966), 82 
Cuban immigration, 82 

Miami and, 36-37, 69, 138 

racial composition of, 67 

welfare participation and, 150, 311 
cultural hearths, U.S., 179 
culture, cultural consequences, 178-81 
Cyprus, 122, 125 
Czechoslovakia, 125, 311 
Czech Republic, 25 1 

Dallas, Tex., 69 

Dante Alighieri, 25 

debating techniques, British vs. 

American, 89 
Declaration of Independence, xiii, 15, 

16, 192, 209 
Deer, Ada, 96, 137-38 
democracy, xviii, 13, 207 



Democracy in America (Tocqueville), 

Democrats, Democratic party, U.S., 

political consequences and, 195-99 
Demographic Transition, The, 53 
Depression, Great, xiv 
designer immigration, 88 
de Tocqueville Institution, 161 
Detroit, Mich., 185 
Deukmejian, George, 269 
Deuteronomy, 244 
Different Mirror, A (Takaki), 271 
"dirty jobs" myth, xix, 8-9, 165 
discrimination, 102-4 
affirmative-action quotas and, 

against author's son, 11 
against European immigration, 

79-80, 88 
1965 Immigration Act and, xv, 

against skilled immigrants, xix 
see also immigration restrictions 
distrust, transaction costs and, 175 
Disuniting of America, The 

(Schlesinger), 217 
diverse societies, diversity, 217-18, 
bigotry and, 120-23 
see also multiculturalism 
diversity lottery, 83, 86 
Dominican Republic, Dominicans, 
Great Britain compared with, 108 
Donaldson, Sam, xvii, xviii 
Douglass, Frederick, 173 
Dr. Strangelove; or, How I Learned to 
Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb 
(movie), 97 
drugs, crime and, 183-86 
Duplessis, Maurice, 223 
Dutch colonization, 66 

Earned Income Tax Credit refunds, 

East Berlin, 1953 riots in, 72 
Easterlin, Richard A., 158-59 

Eastern Europe: 
Americans in, 25 1 , 253 
Germans in, 130, 131 
immigration from, xiv, 48-49, 60, 

see also specific countries 
Economic Consequences of 

Immigration, The (Simon), 28, 85, 
Economic Council, Canadian, 163-64 
economic growth: 
in Colonial Era, xviii 
definitions of, 157 
Harberger Triangle and, 160-61, 

162, 297-93 
immigration and, xviii, 107--8, 157-72 
immigration surplus and, 160-64 
labor and, 164-68 
economics, economic consequences, 

decline in skill levels and, 142-46, 

education costs and, 150, 153 
free trade and, 139-40 
immigration myths and, xviii-xix, 

investment claims and, 151-53 
metamarket and, 175-77 
negative human-capital externalities 

and, 140-41 
1965 Immigration Act and, 141-42 
Social Security and, 153-54 
welfare and, 146-51, 147 
Economics and Politics of Race, The 

(Sowell), 178, 215-16 
economic success, cultural traits and, 

Ecuador, 287 
Edinburgh, 148 

Edmonston, Barry, 39, 43-45, 90 
education, 8, 272, 273 
attitudes toward, 178 
birthrates and, 68 
decline in skill levels and, 142-145, 

of immigrant children, 150, 153, 217, 

Know Nothings and, 1 3 



Education Department, U.S., 265 
Education ofH*Y*M*A*N 

K*A*P*L*A*N, The (Rosten), 19 
efficiency, in resource allocation, 

Egypt, 52, 253, 312 
Ehrlich, Paul, 53, 167 
Einstein, Albert, 156 
Eisenhower, Dwight D., 35 
election of 1993, Canadian, 200 
elections, U.S.: 

of 1980, 197 

of 1988, 195 

of 1992, 19-20, 96, 197, 198, 200 

of 1994, 152/1 
Ellis Island, 14, 15, 148, 186 
Ellis Island Museum of Immigration, 

17, 59 
El Salvador, 30% 311 
Emerging Republican Majority, The 

(Phillips), 195 
emotional factors, in immigration 

debate, 98-100 
Empire State Survey, 94 
Engels, Friedrich, 224 
"English Idea," 208 
English immigration, see British 

English language, 205 

proficiency in, 88-89, 2 &5 
entrepreneurs, immigrant, 163 - 
environment, environmental 

consequences, 187-90 
environmentalism, environmentalists, 

20, 46, 187-90 
immigration debate and, 19-20, 95 
population growth as viewed by, 55 
Environmental Protection Agency 

(EPA), 160, 188 
environmental refugees, 52 
envy, inequality and, 1 75-76 
"Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries" 

(Housman), 21 
equality, democracy vs., xviii 
Era of Mass Immigration, xiv, 38 
Era of Open Scuttles, xv 
Eritrea, 125 
Ervin, Sam, 99 

Ethiopia, 125, 312 

Ethnic America (Sowell), 178 

ethnic balance, U.S., xvii-xix 

Great Restriction and, xv 

1965 Immigration Act and, xv, xvii 
ethnic politics, 121-22 
ethnic revolution, 62-91, 03, 116-20 

deception and, 76-78 

geographic polarization and, 68-72, 

natural phenomenon vs. 
immigration factors in, 74-75 

Pincer Chart and, 62-68, 63, 99 

unprecedented nature of, 129-33 
Etzioni, Amitai, 249 
"European Americans," "whites" vs., 

European Community (European 

Union), 231 
European Council, 231 
European immigration, 19, 62, 84-87, 

in Colonial Era, xiii, 15, 179 

discrimination against, 79-80, 88 

1 820-1 967, 305 

in 1840s, xiv, 16 

First Great Wave of, xiv 

monitoring of, 16 

New Immigration of, xiv 

1968-1993, 307 

see also specific regions and countries 
Evangelical Protestants, 82 
Evans, Harold, 168 
Exiles of '48, 13 

FAIR, see Federation for American 

Immigration Reform 
family, extended: 
nation as, xxi, 5, 225 
of Third World, 80 
family, U.S., immigrant family 

compared with, 80 
family reunification, 27, 247, 261, 
1965 Immigration Act and, xiv, 33, 

Wattenberg's view of, 88 
family values, of Hispanics, 181 



Farney, Dennis, 220 
Fascell, Dante, 196 
Feder, Don, 20 

Federal Bureau of Prisons, 184 
federalism, 72, 155 
Federalist Papers, The, 210 
Federation for American Immigration 
Reform (FAIR), 5, 101, 102, 1 13, 
Feinstein, Dianne, 151 
Ferguson, Colin, 6-7 
Fiji, political power in, 193 
First Great Lull, xiii, 38, 212, 213, 214 
First Great Wave, xiv, 18-21, 101, 102 

Americanization and, 56 

blacks and, 173 

immigration restriction and, 148 

relative population and, 36 

repatriation and, 39 

Second Great Wave compared with, 
5, 18, 19, 29-32, 30-31, 39, 43, 49, 

wage effects of, 162 
Walker Thesis and, 165 
First Universal Nation, The 

(Wattenberg), 88 
First World, population stability in, 

54. 54 
Fischer, David Hackett, 179-80 
Fleming, Thomas, 107 
Florida, 36 

racial composition of, 69 

see also Miami, Fla. 
Food Stamps, 147 
Forbes, no, 176 
Ford, Henry, 168 
Ford Foundation, 218 
Founding Fathers, 15, 16, 192, 214 
Fourteenth Amendment, xiv, 3-4, 

France, 15, 20, 176, 194, 208, 311 

foreign-born population of, 130 

per capita ouptut in, 159 

population of, 54 
Francis, Samuel, 107 
Franco-Prussian War (1870-71), 194 
Franklin, Benjamin, 213-14 

fraud schemes: 

asylum-seekers and, 96 

Nigerian role in, 186 
free markets, 175, 230, 248 
Free State of Winston, 121 
free trade, 139-40, 175 
Free Trade Agreement (1988), 163 
French Revolution, 246, 275 
Frey, William H., 68 
Friedman, Milton, 99, 1 76 
Friedman, Robert I., 185-86 
Friends or Strangers (Borjas), 85-86, 

frontier, closing of, 257-58 
Frost, Robert, 240-41 
Fukuyama, Francis, 180-81 

Gallup Poll, 243 

gardeners, British shortage of, 167 

Gardner, Henry J., 12 

gas stations, in 1950s, 164 

geographic polarization, 68-72, 70-71 

George IE, king of England, 192, 209 

German Democratic Republic (East 

Germany), 72-73 
German Empire, 194 
Germanic tribes, 131-33 
German immigration, 45, 59, 62, 213, 
246, 287 

Franklin's fear of, 213-14 
Germany, Germans, 119, 120-21, 178, 
206, 265 

collapse of "refugee" policy in, 225 

foreign-born population of, 1 30 

as nation-state, 225 

per capita output in, 1 59 

population of, 48, 54. 
Gersten, Pablo, 219 
Getty Oil, 185 
Gigot, Paul, 108 
Glazer, Nathan, 211 
GNP, see Gross National Product 
Goddard, H. H., 16 
gold investment debate, immigration 

enthusiasts compared with, 13-14 
Gompers, Samuel, 20 
Good Mood (Simon), 1 1 1 



Goong, Jona, 220 

Grant, Lindsey, 45 

Grant, Ulysses S., 13 

Great American Immigration Paradox, 

26-32, 81 
Great Britain, 122, 261, 309 

American Revolution and, 16, 17 

Dominican Republic compared 
with, 108 

enclosure in, 248 

foreign-born population of, 130 

gardener shortage in, 167 

as nation of immigrants, 205-6 

per capita output of, 158 

place-names in, 205 

population of, 54 

U.S. Air Force in, 21 

U.S. compared with, 175 

Victorian, 140 

see also British immigration 
Great Migration, 48, 212 
Great Restriction, xiv, 49, 105, 119, 

Great Society, 174, 268 
Greece, 311 

Greek Cypriots, 122, 125 
Gross Fixed Capital Formation, 171 
Gross National Product (GNP): 

environmental protection and, 160, 

immigrant entrepreneurs and, 163 

income redistribution and, 161 

of Japan vs. United States, 170 
Guatemala, 285, 288 
guest-worker programs, 266 
Gurr, Ted Robert, 182 

Hacker, Andrew, 174-75 
Hacker, Myra C, 84 
Haiti, 285, 288 
illegal immigrants from, 27, 112, 
Hamilton, Alexander, 191, 192, 195 
Han Chinese, 131 

handicapped, aid to, as Civil Rights 
issue vs. welfare program, 103 
Hanes, Huber, 260 

Hapsburg Empire, see 

Austro-Hungarian Empire 
Harberger Triangle, immigration 

surplus and, 160-61, 162,5/5-17 
Hardin, Garrett, 248, 249 
Hart, Philip, 64 

Harvard Encyclopedia of American 
Ethnic Groups (Thernstrom, ed.), 
158-59, 193, 207 
Hawaii, 196 

Hayek, Friedrich von, 176 
health, public, see public health 
health-care crisis, immigrant 

dimension of, 7-8 
Hedgecock, Roger, 237 
Herberg, Will, 211 
Herrastein, Richard J., 56/1 
Hesburgh, Rev. Theodore, 262 
Highland Southern speech region, 180 
high school dropouts, 142 
Hispanics, 74, 90, 218-19, 2 3 8 

abolition of category, 265 

assimilation of, 272-74 

birthright citizenship and, 4 

English-language proficiency and, 89 

family values of, 1 8 1 

immigration of, 60, 61, 74-75, 181 

in 1990 Census, 67 

Pincer Chart and, 63, 64, 67, 68 

political consequences and, 194, 196, 

polling of, 94-95 

racism charged by, 1 1 

regional concentration of, 69 

uninsured, 7-8 
HispaHo, 105-7 

Hitler, Adolf, xvii, 1 01, 120, 131 
Hmong refugees, 150 
Holocaust, 10 1 

bigotry and, 121 

strife and, 124 
Hong Kong, Americans in, 251 
Hong Kong Chinese, 185, 190 
Housing and Urban Development 

Department, U.S., 260 
Housman, Alfred E., 21 



Huddle, Donald, 152, 156, 168 
human-capital externalities, negative, 

Hungary, 311 
hunter-gatherers, 176 

Ideas Have Consequences (Weaver), 

identification cards, 260 
Ideology and Immigration (Belts), 

illegal immigration, illegal immigrants, 
amnesty for, xv, 6, 15, 28, 32, 32, 61, 

62, 82, 83, 149, 151-52, 260 
apprehension of, 33, 34, 235, 

birthright citizenship and, 4, 265 
crime and, 6, 183, 184, 238 
education of, 213 
environmentalism and, 190 
gross, 39, 41 
Haitian, 27 
illiteracy and, 145 

increases in, xiv, xv, 5, 26-27, 33-35 
loss of control of, 4-5, 27, 33-35, 

183, 234-38 
net, 39 
Operation Wetback and, xv, 34, 35, 

Proposition 187 and, 152 
recommendations for ending of, 

Rosenthal's views on, 1 12-13 
uninsured, 8 

welfare participation and, 149 
Illegal Immigration — An Unfolding 

Crisis (James), 5 
Illinois, 36 
illiteracy, 145 
immigrant societies, types of, 

immigration, immigration policy, U.S.: 
achievements and, 6 
average 18th-century, 40 
common sense about, 16-18 
concentrations of, 36-37, 70-71 

consequences of, 11 8-1 9, 137-254; 
see also culture, cultural 
consequences; economics, 
economic consequences; 
environment, environmental 
consequences; morality of 
immigration; society, social 
consequences; war against 
democratic vs. undemocratic, xviii 
as emotional issue, 14, 98-100 
as Hitler's posthumous revenge, xvii 
illegal, see illegal immigration, 

illegal immigrants 
legal, see legal immigration 
as luxury vs. necessity, xviii-xix, 

I39> 157-59, 259, 261-63 
nation of immigrants and, 204-6 
net, 38-39, 42, 42 
net, as percentage of population 

growth, 43-44, 43 
opinion polls on, 94, 161, 199-200, 

Paine's view of, xxi, 16-17 
in principle vs. practice, xix-xx, 

as psychotherapy, 109-1 1 
by region: 1 820-1 967, 305 
by region: 1968-1993, 307 
relative, 35-38 
as revenge, 100-102 
silence of the conservatives and, 

as social experiment, 9, 10 
Strangelove Syndrome and, 96-98, 

from top 15 countries: 1 989-1 993, 

workings of, 78-84 
Immigration Act (1924), xiv, 76 
Immigration Act (1965), see 

Immigration and Nationality Act 

Immigration Act (1990), xv, 79, 83, 

Immigration and Nationality Act 

(1952), xiv 



Immigration and Nationality Act 
Amendments (1965), xiv-xv, 10, 

46, 75-85, 90-93, 174 
abolition of preference for northern 

and western Europeans in, 79 
ceilings in, xiv, 76, 79, 84, 99, 

critics of, 84 

deception and, 76-78, 92-93 
decline in immigrant quality 

attributed to, 56/1 
economics and, 141-42 
family reunification emphasized in, 

xiv, 33, 55, 79-8i, 99, 141-42, 

Hart and, 64 

immigrant composition and, 61-62, 

immigration enthusiasts and, 18-19 
intellectual inertia and, 93 
mass immigration triggered by, xv, 

xvii, xxi, 32, 67, 75, 90-91 
refugees and asylum-seekers in, 

repealing of, 258 
as revenge, 100-102 
as tribute to Kennedy, 92-93 
Immigration and Naturalization 

Service, U.S. (INS), 5, 25-28, 

33-34, 36, 39, 87, 148, 182 
on false Social Security numbers, 

Investigation Division of, 259-60 
immigration chain, 79-81, 150 
immigration debate, 6-14, 92-1 14 
alienism and, 105-7 
civil rights and, 93, 102-4 
gold investment debate compared 

with, 13-14 
gridlock in, 11 2-1 3 
ideological lines crossed in, 19-20 
1965 Immigration Act and, 76-78 
as Libra territory, 19-20 
nativists and, 12-13 
one-way, 6-9, 18-19 
opinion polls and, 94-95, 161, 

199-200, 243 

psychological and emotional factors 

in, 14, 98-100, 1 09-1 1 
racism and, 9-1 1, 20 
immigration enthusiasts, 1 1-15, 28-29, 

cultural consequences and, 180-81 
economic growth and, 161-63, ^5* 

167, 169 
investment claims of, 151 
IRCA and, 32 
nativists as viewed by, 12 
Paine cited by, 17 
political consequences and, 193 
relative immigration and, 35 
social consequences and, 182-84 
on Social Security bailout, 154 
immigration history, U.S., summary 

of, xiii-xv 
immigration policy, recommendations 

for, 257-68 
border defense as, 259 
decolonization as, 258-59 
ending of illegal immigration as, 

immigration as luxury and, 259, 

immigration costs and, 259, 263-64 
National Question and, 259, 264-67 
Immigration Reform and Control Act 

(IRCA) (1986), 32-35, 141, 309 
amnesties and, xiv, 28, 32, 41, 61, 

62, 82, 149, 241 
immigration restrictions, 21 1-16 
on Asians, xiv, 16,21 
in Colonial Era, xiii, 148 
fears about, 18 
of Great Restriction, xiv, 49, 105, 

119, 162,211,273 
on Irish, xiii, 214 
Know Nothings and, 12, 148 
labor unions and, 20, 162 
progressive concerns and, 20 
quotas and, xiv, 76, 79, 84, 99, 

recommendations for, 258-67 
immigration scandal (1993), 27 
imperialism, 245-46 


34 2 


national, 1 57-58, 1 63 

redistribtion of, 161, 317 

see also wages 
India, 38, 126, 285 

immigration to, 253 
Indians (Native Americans), 66, 192, 

Industrial Revolution, 53, 156, 224, 

inequality, 175-76 
Inferno (Dante), 25 
information, free flow of, 226, 229 
innovation, in Japan, 171-72 
INS, see Immigration and 

Naturalization Service, U.S. 
Institute of Medicine, U.S., 187 
insurance, health, 7-8 
intellectual inertia, 93 
intelligence, 56/1 
intelligence testing, 16 
intermarriage, 207, 270, 273-74 
Internal Revenue Service (IRS), 149, 

internationalism, New Class and, 230, 


immigration as, 151-53 

in Japan, 171 
Invisible Victims (Lynch), 218 
Iran, 126,309, 311 

hostage crisis in, 26 , 
Iraq, 126 
IRCA, see Immigration Reform and 

Control Act 
Ireland, population growth in, 53 
Irish immigration, xiv, 12, 15-16, 45, 
59, 83, 213 

assimilation of, 215-16 

blacks affected by, 173 

ethnic politics and, 1 23 

illegal, 86 

restriction of, xiii, 214 
Irish Republic, 126 
irredentism, 194 
IRS (Internal Revenue Service), 149, 

Islam, 208 

isolationism, 69 
Israel, 82, 130, 186 
Italy, 129, 265 

immigration from, 62, 287 

as nation-state, 225 

population of, 54 
Izumi, Lance, 269 

Jackson, Rev. Jesse, 65, 196 
Jamaica, 62, 285, 288 

immigration to, 252-53 
James, Daniel, 5 
Japan, Japanese, 178, 205, 245, 253 

economic growth in, 168-72 

Filipino factories of, 140 

innovation in, 171-72 

population of, 48, 54 

U.S. compared with, 169, 170 
Japanese Americans, intermarriage of, 


Japanese immigration, restriction of, 

Jay, John, 210 

Jefferson, Thomas, 20, 191, 192, 266 

Jewish Bulletin, 119-20 

Jews, Judaism, 13, 1 19-21, 130, 138, 
178, 180,212,243 
Civil Rights and, 104 
immigration myths and, 16 
immigration of, 82, 113 
organized crime and, 185-86 
political consequences and, 197 
Soviet and Russian, 82, 113, 185-86 
see also anti-Semitism 

jobs, see work, workers 

John F. Kennedy International 

Airport, asylum scandal at, 27, 96 

Johnson, Chalmers, 171-72 

Johnson, Lyndon B., 64 

Johnson, Samuel, 94 

Johnson, Steve, 87 

Justice Department, U.S., 184-85, 262 

Kallen, Horace M., 207, 21 1 

Kallenism, 207, 208 

Kearney, Dennis, 21 

Kemp, Jack, 196, 220 

Kennedy, Edward, 76-77, 83, 84, 86 



Kennedy, John F., 13, 93, 196, 261 
Kennedy, Robert F., 78 
King, Rodney, 176 
Kinsley, Michael, 99-100, 101 
Kipling, Rudyard, 211, 246, 270 
Know Nothings (Order of the 

Star-Spangled Banner), 12-13, I 5> 

148, 200, 214, 265 
Kohl, Helmut, 225 
Korean immigration, Korean 

immigrants, 83-84, 309, 311 
"mafia" of, 185 
Rodney King riots and, 176 
Kristol, Irving, 175, 230 
Kubrick, Stanley, 97 
Kuznets, Simon, 166, 174 
KXYT (radio station), 81 


economic growth and, 164-68 

economizing on, 166 

in Japan, 172 

see also work, workers 
labor unions, 20, 162 
land, common holdings of, 248 
landlords, rent and, 176 
language-assistance programs, 8 
Laotians, welfare participation of, 

149-50, 287 
Latin America: 

immigration from, do, 61, 76, 77, 

1965 Immigration Act ceiling and, 

see also specific countries 
Latino National Political Survey, 94 
Laudeman, Tev, 275 
Lautenberg, Frank, 82 
Lautenberg Amendment, 82 
Lazarus, Emma, 15 
Lebanon, 125, 287 

as commercial entrepot, 176 
Lee, Robert E., 21 
legal immigration: 


gross, 39, 41 

illegal immigration compared with, 

with IRCA amnesties, 32 

in 1991, 5 

quality of, 261 

quantity of, 262-63 

by region of birth, 59, 60 

repatriation of, 38-39 
legalism, in U.S. vs. Great Britain, 175 
legal system, U.S., asylum seekers and, 


leprosy, 187 

Letters from an American Farmer 
(Crevecoeur), 212 

Leviticus, 243 

liberalism, liberals: 
conservatives' relationship with, 107 
Pius DCs denunciation of, 13, 216 

Liberal party, N.Y., 199 

liberal revolutions (1840s), 13, 246 

Liberia, 126 

liberty, 13, 15 

"Liberty Visas," 88 

Lincoln, Abraham, xxi, 200-201 

Lind, Michael, 181 

Lines and Shadows (Wambaugh), 239 

linguistic isolation, 8 

living standards, 53, 158, 161 

Long Island Rail Road shootings, 6-7 

Los Angeles, Calif., 36, 69, 194, 272 
Rodney King riots in, 176 

Los Angeles County, births in, 4 

Los Angeles County Jail Inmate 
Reception Center, 183 

Los Angeles Times, 94 

Louisiana, 187, 270 

Lynch, Frederick R., 218 

lynching, 106 

Macaulay, Thomas Babington, Lord, 

McCarthy, Eugene, 95, 238, 258 
MacLennan, Hugh, 226-28, 269-70 
Mafia, 185 

Making It (Podhoretz), 107, 120-21 
malaria, 187 
Malaysia, 125 
Mandel, Michael J., 1 12 
Mandela, Nelson, 109 
Manhattan Institute, 1 15-16 



Manhattan Island, Dutch purchase of, 

Manning, Preston, 200 
Marie Antoinette, queen of France, 


Marines, U.S., 106 

marriage penalty, 165 

Marshall Islands, Republic of, 180 

Marx, Karl, 224 

Marxism, 229 

Masefield, John, 207 

Massachusetts, 123 
immigration restriction in, 148 
Puritan immigration to, xiii, 179 

Mass Immigration and the National 
Interest (Briggs), 262 

measles, 187 

MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil 
Chicano de Aztlan), 194 

Medicaid, 147 

Meese, Ed, 269 

Mehlman, Ira, 102 

Meissner, Doris, 25 

Melbourne, William Lamb, Lord, 74 

melting pot, origin of term, 2 1 

"Mending Wall" (Frost), 240-41 

Mennonites, 37 

mestizos, 67 

metamarket, immigration and, 175-77 

Metzger, Tom, 106 

Mexican Americans: 
assimilation of, 272, 273, 274 
out-of-wedlock births of, 181 
polling of, 94 

Mexican "mafia," 185 

Mexicans, non-citizen, polling of, 

Mexico, 27, 158, 208, 245 
cultural institutes opened by, 194 
extraterritorial rights claimed by, 

immigration from, 67, 77, 89, 145, 

177, 187, 193-94. 309, 3/2 
immigration to, 252 
NAFTA and, 140 
Southwest reoccupied by, 158, 

wages in, 139 

Miami, Fla., 36 

Cubanization of, 36-37, 69, 138 
Micronesia, Federated States of, 180 
Middle Ages, immigration in, 131 
Middle Atlantic region, as cultural 

hearth, 179 
Middle East, U.S. foreign policy in, 

Middle Eastern immigration, 6, 67 
Midland speech region, 180 

to urban areas, 1 1, 52, 70 

white flight and, 68-69, 70-71 
Miles, Jack, 20 
Modern Economic Growth (Kuznets), 

modern era, immigration in, 129-31 
Moore, Steven, 28 
morality of immigration, xviii, xix, 
128, 234-54 

Bible and, 243-44 

effective "ministering" and, 244-45 

nation-state and, 249-50 

turnabout and, 250-54 

Baby Boom, 46 

illegal-immigrant, 4 
Mountain South, 209 

as cultural hearth, 179 
Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de 

Aztlan (MEChA), 194 
Moynihan, Darnel Patrick, 203, 211 
multiculturalism, xviii, 17, 19, 96, 217, 

219, 220, 232, 265 
multiracial societies, 123-29 

evidence against, 124-27 
Murray, Charles, 56/1 
myths about immigration, 14-16, 55 

"building of America," xviii, 1 63 

cost of passage and, 15-16 

"dirty jobs," xix, 8-9, 165 

economic, xvii-xx, 139, 160-65 

intelligence testing and, 16 

NAFTA (North American Free Trade 

Agreement), 140 
Napoleonic Wars, 38 
natalist policies, 165-66 



nation, nation-state, 202-33 
alien, xxi 

continuing absorption of 
immigrants and, 216-19 
defined, 203 

as extended family, xxi, 5, 225 
firm compared to, 226 
idea vs., 202, 208-1 1 
immigration restrictions and, 21 1-16 
less perfect union and, 202-21 
modernity of, 225-26 
morality of immigration and, 

Universal, 206-7, 274 
U.S. perceptual difficulty with, 

U.S. semantic difficulty with, 204 
war against, see war against 
National Center for Policy Analysis, 

national identity, U.S.: 
ethnic balance and, xiv, xv, xvii-xviii 
immigration myths and, 15 
nativists and, 13 
national income, U.S., 157-58, 163 
nationalists, Know Nothings as, 13 
national-origin quotas, xiv, 76 
Civil Rights movement and, 103 
1965 Immigration Act and, xiv, 76, 
99, 104 
National Re view, 105, 240 
author's article for, 3, 9-10, 14, 
19, 20, 58, 88, 96, 99-100, 106, 
Kinsley's views on author's article 
in, 99-100 
Native Americans (Indians), 66, 192, 

native-born Americans, linguistically 

isolated, 8 
nativists, 12-13, I0 5 
naturalization law (1790), first federal, 

xiv, 15,67 
Nazism, 101 
Negative Population Growth, Inc., 

neoconservatives, 87-88 

neo-Nazi groups, Raab's view of, 

net cost of immigration, 151-53 
New Class, 229-32 
New England: 

as cultural hearth, 179 

French Canadians in, 273 

immigration to, xiii, 15, 48, 212 
New Hampshire, 273 
New Jersey, 36 
New Jersey Coalition, 84 
Newman, David, 81 
New Orleans, La., 187 
New Republic, 99, 101 
Newsweek, 94 
New Testament, 244 
Newton, Sir Isaac, 1 56 
Newtonian physics, 156 
New York, N.Y., 36, 72, 182, 249-50 

education in, 217 

immigration policy compared with, 
26, 28 

Irish politicians in, 123 

Scottish paupers in, 148 

servants in, 173 

subway in, 28, 109-10 

white flight from, 70-71 
New York Post, 97 
New York State, 36, 199 
New York Times, 94-98, 1 12-13, 118, 

Nicaragua, 312 
Nigeria, 126 

immigrants expelled from, 253 

immigration from, 62, 83, 186, 312 
North Africans, as whites, 67 
North American Free Trade 

Agreement (NAFTA), 140 
northern Europe: 

immigration from, xiv, 59, 60, 61, 

79, 213 
U.S. heritage influenced by, xiv 
Northern Mariana Islands, 

Commonwealth of, 180 
Northern speech region, 180 
Notes on the State of Virginia 

(Jefferson), 191 
Novak, Michael, 211 



Occidental College, 219-20 
Old Testament, 243-44 
Open Door Era, xiii 
Operation Blockade, 238 
Operation Wetback, xiv, 34, 35, 260 
opinion polls: 
of economists, 161-62 
about immigration, 94-95, 161, 

199-200, 243 
political, 199 
Order of the Star-Spangled Banner 
(Know Nothings), 12-13, 15, 148, 
200, 214, 265 
Organization for Economic 

Co-operation and Development, 
Organizatsiya, 185-86 
Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel 94 
O'Sullivan, John, 102, 202 
Otakar n, king of Bohemia, 131 
increase in size of, 157-58 
per capita, 158-59 

Pacific Islanders, 180 

Paine, Thomas, xx-xxi, 16-17, 76, 

Pakistan, 125 

immigration from, 6 
Palau, 180 
Panama, 288 

Pandaemonium (Moynihan), 203 
Panic, Milan, 266 
Papandreou, Andreas, 266 
Papineau, Louis Joseph, 228 
Parkinson, C. Northcote, 257 
Parliament, British, 209 
Passel, Jeffrey S., 39, 43-45, 90 
Path to National Suicide, The (Auster), 

76, 313 
paupers, immigration regulation and, 

xiii, 16, 148 
Pearse, Padraic, 274 
Pennsylvania, colonial, 17 
people of color, predictions about 

future of, 3, 9 
Pepper, Claude, 196 
Perot, Ross, 197, 200- 

Peru, 288 

Philippines, 140, 246, 252, 285 

Phillips, Kevin, 195 

Pilgrims, 37, 148 

Pincer Chart, 62-68, 63, 99 

Pius DC, Pope, 13,216 

Plato, 17, 226 

Plyler v. Doe, 263 

Plymouth Colony, 37 

Podhoretz, Norman, 102, 107, 

pogroms, in czarist Russia, 12, 15 
Poland, 208, 309, 311 
political consequences, 191-201 

Democrats and, 195^99 

new parties and, 199-200 

Republicans and, 195-97 
political culture: 

of American Revolution, 16-18 

common, 16 
political nation ("racial hegemony of 
white Americans") (America), 
17-18, 58-59, 67, 122 
political parties: 

new, 199-200 

see also specific parties 
political perception, time lag in, 93-94 
politics, U.S.: 

ethnic, 121-22 

geographic polarization and, 72 

Northern vs. Southern, 69 

racial and ethnic factors in, xix, 10 

sectionalism in, 69 

tradition in, xx 
polity, defined, 204 
polls, see opinion polls 
pollution, EPA regulation of, 188 
Pontiac's Conspiracy (1763), 192 
population, population growth, 37-38, 
43-56, 158 

age of, 51 

environmentalism and, 188-89 

FAIR and, 118 

First World stability in, 54, 54 

foreign-stock and foreign-born, 

of Hispanics, 74-75 
Japanese, 168-69, 172 



net immigration as percentage of, 


optimistic vs. pessimistic view of, 53 

predictions for, 45, 46, 54 

Simon's views on, 1 10-1 1 

in Third World, 50-52, 5/ 

in U.S. and developing world, 50, 5/ 

Wedge Chart and, 46, 47 
population change, 43 

defined, 43 
Population-Environment Balance, 189, 

Portugal, 287 
Postrel, Virginia, 9-10 
potato famine (1840s), xiv, 12, 16, 

Powell, Enoch, 92, 264 
primate cities, 52 
Progressive Conservative party, 

Canadian, 200 
property rights, 175, 248-49 
Proposition 187, 152/1 
protected classes, 263-64 
preferential hiring and promotion 

of, 218 
size of, 66 
Protestant, Catholic, Jew (Herberg), 

Protestants, 17, 82, 126, 179, 197, 212, 

214, 243, 272 
Proudhon, Pierre-Joseph, 249 
psychological factors, in immigration 
debate, 98-100, 109-11, 237-38 
public charge, 142, 148 
public health, 186-87 
illegal immigrants and, 35, 1 13 
immigration restrictions and, 16 
Puerto Ricans, 272 
education of, 143 
polling of, 94 
welfare and, 147 
Civil Rights and, 104 
immigration of, xiii, 15, 48, 179 

Quakers, 179 

Quebec, 223, 224, 226-29, 265 

Quebec Act (1774), 209 

[??7] factor, 164-72 

Japanese miracle and, 168-72 
Quota Act (1921), xiv 

affirmative-action, 11, 66, 217-18, 
219, 263, 264 

national-origin, xiv, 76, 99, 103, 104 

1965 Immigration Act and, xiv, 76, 

79, H 99, 104 
1990 Immigration Act and, 79 

Raab, Earl, 119-20, 122 
race, race question, 264 

crime and, 97-98, 184 

Strangelove Syndrome and, 96-98 

U.S. balance in, xix, 62-68, 63, 

U.S. hangup about, 67 

see also specific races 
racism, 95 

alienist view of, 1 19-20 

immigration and, xvii, 9-1 1, 20, 
Rainbow Coalition, 65, 196 
Random House, 168 
Reagan, Ronald, 27, 89, 197 
Reason, 9-10 
recession of 1990-91, 33 
Reflections on the Revolution in France 

(Burke), 275 
Reform party, Canadian, 200 
Refugee Act (1980), xv, 246 
refugees, xv, 27, 39, 93, 246-47 

collapse of German policy for, 225 

environmental, 52 

1965 Immigration Act and, 81-83 

welfare participation and, 150 

World War II, 93 
Reich, Robert B., 86 
relativity theory, 156 

democracy and, 13 

see also specific religions 
rent control, 162, 176 
Republicans, Republican party, U.S., 
13, 107, 151-52 

political consequences and, 195-200 
resource allocation, efficiency in, 139 



revanchism, 194 
Revolutionary War, U.S., see 

American Revolution 
revolutions, liberal (1840s), 13, 246 
Reyes, Silvestre, 238 
Riche, Martha Farnsworth, 115 
Ripon,Wis., 137 

Roberts, Cokie, xvii, xviii, 231-32 
Rockefeller Commission on 
Population Growth, 262 
Roman Catholicism, 208, 209, 223, 243 

Americanization of, 216 

Irish, 123, 126, 214 

Know Nothings and, 12-13, 200, 
Roman Empire, 124-25 

Germanic overrunning of, 131-33 

population and, 53 
Roosevelt, Theodore, 202, 209, 210-11 
Rosenthal, A. M., 1 12-13, 235-36 
Rosten, Leo, 19 
Rusk, Dean, 99 
Russia, Russians: 

Germans in, 130 

immigration of, 12 

migration of, 131 

pogroms in, 12, 15 

Samoa, American, 180 

San Antonio, Tex., 69, 272, 274 

San Diego county, 35 

San Diego Union-Tribune, 190, 273 

San Francisco, Calif., 182 

San Francisco County, 69 

savings, in Japan, 171 

Scandinavian immigration, 59 

Schlesinger, Arthur, Jr., 217 

Schultz, Harry, 19 

Schumpeter, Joseph, 230 

Science, 248 

Scottish immigrants, 179 

paupers, 148 
Second Great Lull, xiv, 19, 38, 39, 

blacks and, 174 
Second Great Wave, xv 
crime and, 182-83 
demographic impact of, 43-44 

First Great Wave compared with, 5, 
18, 19, 29-32, 30-31, 39, 43, 49, 
sectionalism, 69, 122, 179-80 
Select Commission on Immigration 

and Refugee Policy, 262 
Sellers, Peter, 97 
Senate, U.S.: 
1965 Immigration Act and, 76-77, 

residency requirements for, 21 
Serbo-Croatian-Bosnian war, 123-24 
Serrano, Jos6, 261 
Seven Years War (1756-63), 214 
Shakespeare, William, 208-9 
Shalala, Donna, 25 
"Significance of the Frontier in 

American History, The" (Turner), 
Simcox, David, 186 
Simon, Julian L., 28, 53, 85, 109-11, 
1 1 5-16, 139, 151, 162, 172, 275 
author's meetings with, no, n 5-1 6, 

123, 128-29 
depression of, in 
Ehrlich's bet with, 167 
"general theory" proposed by, 138 
Japan ignored by, 169 
labor as viewed by, 1 67 
multiracial societies and, 123, 124, 

open borders and, 140-41 
Sirhan, Sirhan, 78 
Skerry, Peter, 272 
Slaughter, John Brooks, 220 
slaves, slavery, xiv, 48, 67, 69 
abolition of, 121 
in Colonial Era, 17 
Know Nothings and, 13 
smallpox, 186 
Smith, Goldwin, 228 
Sobran, Joseph, 105 
Social Contract, 186, 269 
socialism, Hayek's argument for, 

Social Security numbers, false, 149 
Social Security system, immigrants' 
payments to, 153-54 



society, social consequences, 182-87 

crime, 182-86 

public health, 16, 35, 116, 186-87 
"Solution, The" (Brecht), 58 
Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr, 233, 254 
Sontag, Deborah, 95-96, 97, 109, 118 
South, Southerners: 

as cultural hearth, 179 

in election of 1992, 198 
South Africa, 312 

commuter train murders in, 109 

political power in, 193 

U.S. foreign policy for, 195 

white refugees from, 246-47 
South Carolina, blacks in, 69 
southern European immigration, xiv, 

South Korea, immigration to, 252 
Soviet bloc, former, U.S. foreign 

policy and, 86 
"Soviet Man," 208 
Soviet Union, 122, 125, 131, 309, 311 

Jews from, 82, 113 

refuseniks from, 150 
Sowell, Thomas, 178-79, 181, 209, 

215-16, 270 
Spanish language, 77, 89, 137, 194, 

219, 272, 273 
speciesism, 103 
speech regions, U.S., 179-80 
Sri Lanka, 126 

New Class and, 230 

U.S. difficulty with use of, 204 

see also nation, nation-state 
State Department, U.S., 186, 194 

Bureau of Refugee Affairs in, 72 
Staten Island, 72 

immigration regulation by, xiii, xv, 
16, 148 

see also specific states 
Statue of Liberty, 1 5 
Stein, Dan, 15, 101, 102, 118 
Strangelove Syndrome, 96-98, 100 
Strout, Richard, 100 
Sudan, 126 
Supplemental Security Income, 146 

Supreme Court, U.S., immigration 

regulation and, xiv, 148 
Switzerland, 126-27, 194, 245, 266 

taboos, immigration debate and, xix, 

Taiwan, immigration to, 252 
Takaki, Ronald, 271-72 
taxes, 150-53 

immigrant, 151, 152-53 

natalist policies and, 165 

Wausau, 150 
Teitelbaum, Michael S., 50, 1 16 
Texas, 35, 36, 106, 270 

construction workers in, 168 

Mexico's reoccupation of, 193-94 

white flight in, 70-71 
Thatcher, Margaret, 166 
third-party movements, 200 
Third World, 144 

brain drain from, 243 

environmental refugees and, 52 

extended family of, 80 

1965 Immigration Act and, xv, 77 

population growth in, 50-52, 5/ 

primate cities of, 52 

see also specific regions and countries 
This Week with David Brinkley (TV 

show), xvii, xviii 
Time, xviii, 74-75, 132, 243 
Tinker, Jerry, 83-84, 86 
Tocqueville, Alexis de, 212-13 
"Tragedy of the Commons, The" 

(Hardin), 248 
Trahison des Clercs, La ("Treason of 

the Clerks") (Benda), 114 
transaction costs, 175, 176, 226 
Transvaal, Republic of, 193 
Trevor, John B., 84 
tribalism, 203 

Trudeau, Pierre, 222-24, 232-33 
trust, transaction costs and, 175, 176 
tuberculosis, 187 
Tufts University, Admission Essay 

question of, 3, 9 
Turkey, 126 

Turkish Cypriots, 122, 125 
Turner, Frederick Jackson, 257-58 



Two Nations (Hacker), 175 
Two Solitudes (MacLennan), 226-28, 

Ukrainian Catholics, 82 

Ulster, 126 

Ultimate Resource, The (Simon), 


"un-American," 10 
unemployment, 165, 168 
United Nations (UN), 52, 53, 243 
United Nations Population Fund, 52 
Universal Nation, 206-7, 2 74 
Urban Institute, 90, 147, 151, 171 

Vancouver, Hong Kong Chinese in, 

Vanity Fair, 185-86 
Vietnamese, 285 

as refugees, 246, 247 

welfare participation of, 149-50, 

Violence in America (Gurr, ed.), 182 
Virginia, 121 

English immigration to, xiii, 15, 179 
Voices of Citizens Together, 314 
Volkerwanderung, 131-33 
voting, 106, 122 
Voting Rights Act (1965), 102-3 


First Great Wave and, 1 62 

of immigrants, 157-58 

market-clearing, 1 39 
Walker Thesis, 165 
Wall Street Journal 108, 140, 151, 

Walpole, Horace, 247 
Wambaugh, Joseph, 239 

human predilection for, 229 

immigration and, 158, 159 

see also specific wars 
war against nation-state, 222-33 

Canadian case study and, 226-29 

Canadian policy and, 222-24 

New Class in, 229-32 
Washington, Booker T., 173 

Washington, DC, 36, 69 

tuberculosis in, 187 
Washington, George, 15, 17, 37, 192 
Washington Monthly, 86 
Watson, Muriel, 236-37 
Wattenberg, Ben J., 87-88, 188, 261, 

Universal Nation and, 206-7, 2 74 
Wausau, Wis., Hmong refugees in, 

Weaver, Richard, 138 
Wedge Chart, 46, 47, 99 
welfare, welfare state, 19, 29, 33, 39, 
42, 152, 155 

absorption of immigrants and, 217 

birthright citizenship and, 149 

blacks' relations with, 65, 121, 124, 

Borjas's view of, 147-48, 147, 
150-51, 181 

handicapped and, 103 

increase in immigrant use of, 
146-51, 147 

participation rates in 1990, by 
national origin group, 311-12 
western Europe: 

immigration from, 59, 60, 61, 79, 

U.S. heritage influenced by, xiv 
West Indians, 62, 196, 218 
West Virginia, 121 
Whigs, 200 

White Aryan Resistance, 106 
white flight, 68-69, 70-71, 123 
White Person's Burden, 246 
whites, 58-59 

in Australia and Canada, 1 30 

birthrates of, 68 

in Brazil, 130 

education of, 143 

election of 1992 and, 197 

first naturalization law and, xii, 15, 

lower-income, 69 
as minority, 62, 64, 74-75* 9 6 » *37 
out-of-wedlock births of, 181 
Pincer Chart and, 62-68, 63 
as problematic racial category, 67 



"racial hegemony of" (America), 
17-18, 58-59, 67, 122 

Southerners, 120-21 

U.S. political culture and, 17-18 

welfare and, 147 
Will, George, 106 
Wilson, Pete, 151-52 
Wilson, Woodrow, 224 
Winning of the West (Roosevelt), 210 

children and, 249-50 

Japanese, 172 
work, workers: 

attitudes toward, 178 

cheap, 20 

dual economy and, 69 
immigrants' displacement of, 

xviii-xix, 11, 69, 167-68, 173-74 
skilled, 140, 141, 261 
unskilled, 11, 55, 69, 140-46 
World Trade Center bombing, 6 
World War 1, 159, 229 
World War II, xiv, xvii, 15, 131 

yellow fever, 187 
Yugoslavia, 123-24, 125, 311 
as nation vs. state, 204 

Zangwill, Israel, 21 
Zulus, 108, 109 


Peter Brimelow says he has succeeded in becoming an alien in three 
countries. A senior editor of Forbes and National Review, he was born in 
England in 1947, was educated at Sussex and Stanford universities, and 
has worked for Maclean's and the Financial Post in Canada and for For- 
tune and Barron's in the United States. His writings have appeared in The 
Wall Street Journal Harpers, The New York Times, and the London 
Times, for which he was a columnist. A U.S. citizen, he is married and has 
one son and one daughter.